MORE than 500 Christmas trees were collected by St Cuthbert’s Hospice Durham volunteers to be recycled.

The charity offered the scheme for the first time this year, after needing to find new ways to raise money because large fundraising events are unable to go ahead and charity shops remain closed due to Covid restrictions.

Collections were supported by local businesses Poplar Tree Garden Centre and Hilltop Hire Durham which supplied vehicles.

Jade McArdle, senior community and events fundraiser, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to all who booked a tree collection with us and has helped to make our first year a great success. The scheme has raised a massive £8,000 for the Hospice which is much needed at this time. The generosity from our local community never ceases to amaze us."

A donation will also be made to 4th Durham City St John’s Brownies, the hospice's chosen additional beneficiary from the collection.

She said: “The collections wouldn’t have been possible without the volunteers, who have operated in family bubbles and taken on far more routes than initially expected to make pickups safe and achievable.

"The weather was so cold, and the snow and ice caused a few problems, but they all stuck at it and have just been true Hospice heroes for us."

The trees will be recycled by Durham County Council, East Durham College Houghall Campus and reused for renewable energy and mulch by Charleton Chips Tree Services.

Jade added: “The scheme has helped us to get off to a good start to the year but the reality is we are struggling to plan any other major fundraisers at this time. We launched our first ever urgent appeal in September last year and would greatly value any donations the public can make at this time or any fundraising activities at home that supporters can undertake.”

To support the charity's Make It Count appeal visit