Arthur Rank Hospice’s Christmas tree recycling scheme raises more than £26,500
PUBLISHED: 10:57 20 January 2019
A Christmas tree recycling initiative raised more than £26,500 for the Arthur Rank Hospice charity thanks to the help of 100 volunteers who collected 1,860 trees in two days.
Teams of two or three volunteers in 50 different vans made their way around the streets of Cambridge, picking up trees from pre-registered addresses.
Once vans were full, they dropped their pine-needle-stuffed loads off at designated collection points, where they were loaded onto larger ‘sweeper’ lorries loaned by Cross Country Carriers, JPS Installs and G.Webb Haulage Limited.
They were then loaded into skips which had been loaned to the charity by Mick George.
The final stop for the trees was the Amey Cespa waste management depot in Waterbeach, where they were composted.
The Christmas tree recycling and fundraising initiative was launched by the hospice’s fundraising team in 2016, when it raised £3,500. In 2017, the scheme raised £12,600 with 1,000 trees collected.
Last year, the team quickly beat their target of £15,000 as tree registrations increased to 1,860 by the time registrations closed, on January 9.
The charity was then faced with the challenge of ensuring they were able to pick up and transport more than 1,800 trees across two days.
Community fundraiser Bec Beattie said: “Our Christmas tree collection scheme has grown in popularity every time we have done it and as we have added new postcodes each year.
“We hadn’t quite expected this fourth year to be such a resounding success: as the deadline approached and the number of tree registrations continued to rapidly grow, we realised that we would need at least double the number of helpers and vehicles we already had on board, to cope with the demand!
“We put out an appeal and - thanks to the support of our local radio stations, newspapers, and incredible supporters who helped spread the word to family and friends – doubled the number of people and vans on our volunteer collection team within two days.
“It is thanks to them generously giving up their time that we were able to complete our ‘treasure hunt for Christmas trees’ and collect over 900 each day.”
Eileen Hughes, who volunteered for the first time this year, said: “It’s just a few hours of my time, a bit of exercise and a great way for the hospice to make money, so it’s a no brainer really.
“The atmosphere is great. I’ve been chatting to lots of other volunteers and everybody’s doing it for different reasons.
“The hospice helps so many people in the community so it’s an honour really, to help them.”
Ninety per cent of the funds raised will help fund Arthur Rank Hospice Charity’s care to those living with a life-limiting illness in Cambridgeshire, with 10 per cent donated to a local cause nominated by those who volunteered to help with the tree collection. The hospice needs to raise £8.1 million every year to deliver its services free of charge to patients and their loved ones.