KNUTSFORD Town Mayor Cllr Andrew Malloy helped with the annual Christmas tree collection to support East Cheshire Hospice.

He told the Guardian about his part in the collection, which broke the £100,000 mark.

He said: "Back in June 2019 I attended a preview evening of ‘Gathering’ at Tatton Park, an art exhibition in support of East Cheshire Hospice.

"While there, I met Richard Raymond, one of the hospice vice-presidents. We spoke about the Christmas tree collection they carry out each year and asked if I’d like to come along, as Mayor, to see what happens, and take some photos.

"Of course, I said NO! Frankly, I didn’t fancy the idea of standing around looking pretty in the Mayoral chain, while lots of amazing volunteers worked their fingers to the bone, in the cold and wet, collecting trees.

"I much prefer to muck in, so I told Raymond, I’d be there, to help collect trees. Volunteer support is so important.

"So, a week last Sunday at 8am, I travelled up to Prestbury Village Hall, to join some of the 300 volunteers.

"We were welcomed with a bacon butty, a cup of tea, given a hi-vis, gloves, and presented with a health and safety talk, and some information on the Hospice. We’d already been allocated our three-person teams, so with a van, and a list of addresses, we were off.

"I was teamed up with Scott and Alison and sent to Alderley Edge. Alison being from Alderley Edge helped navigate, while Scott did the driving, and I hopped out to find and load the trees, with help when needed.

"Our list consisted of around 60 trees right across Alderley Edge. Some houses had one tree others had two. Most had donated upfront online, others had attached a donation in a waterproof wrapper, to the tree.

"Once the van was full, we headed to West Park in Macclesfield, where ANSA off loaded the trees into mulchers, a huge trailer/container with a mechanism specifically design for grinding up the trees to small enough parts to be used for mulch or in some case bio-fuel.

"While that was happening, volunteers could make use of the ‘Mulchers Arms’ for a toilet break, fresh hot cup of tea some cake and even hot pot. Delicious. Then we were off out again, to fill the van.

Knutsford Guardian:

The trees are mulched

"After our second round, we’d completed our allocation of trees, and were sent off to pick up some late bookings, and luckily for me, this was in Knutsford, which made navigation my job.

"We were finished by around 4.30, but the work continued after then, as secondary depots had to get their trees back to Macclesfield.

"I understand the final tree was thrown into the mulcher by Richard Raymond around 6pm. A long day, and a long weekend for all the volunteers, but such great work by all.

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"The £100,000 barrier was broken for the first time in this their 20th anniversary year of collecting trees.

"This is one of the hospice’s biggest fundraising event of the year, and critical to ensure that free care for those at the end of their lives continue to get the support they need.

"Please consider registering your real tree next year for collection, and if you can, perhaps consider volunteering your support. Visit"