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Our volunteers – we couldn’t manage without you.

When Mark Vaughan heard about the Christmas tree collection in aid of St Ann’s Hospice his interest was piqued, and he keenly helped, collecting trees in the Stockport area in January 2017. After spending the day with two other volunteers, he was overwhelmed with the enthusiasm of all involved, selflessly giving their time and energy to help raise money for local charities.

Mark commented, “I was really inspired with the whole event. The organisation was first class - right from the outset when we met for the briefing to then being assigned to a crew who I teamed up with to collect the trees. We were given a map with details of where to collect the trees which we brought back to the sports club where they were chipped into the local farmer’s trailer. The tree surgeons and farmer donated their time for the event and Spectrum Plant Hire loaned the wood chipper so that the trees could be shredded. The energy and enthusiasm of everyone involved was outstanding.

The enthusiasm was so infectious that Mark volunteered to manage a collection the following year in Altrincham where he lives. For JustHelping, this was an important step to expand the collection to an area outside of Stockport. Together with the support of JustHelping, Mark secured sponsorship, engaged local volunteers to deliver leaflets to homes and help with the collection of the Christmas trees which were taken to Bowdon Rugby Club where they were shredded. The expansion was a great success with nearly 100 trees collected and many relationships forged which will undoubtedly help grow the collection year on year.

The majority of monies raised from the collection, (received when individuals donate online when they book their tree for collection) goes to St Ann’s Hospice but a portion is also donated to local charities as requested by the volunteers. Notably, Mark wanted to make a donation to St Mary’s Hospital charity where his twin boys were looked after when they were born prematurely 7 years ago. For Mark and his family, it was an emotional return to the hospital but they were delighted to be able to visit the Newborn Intensive Care Unit and present a cheque for £500 and say thank you.