Giving to Life Tree returns to the Cornmill Centre

Pictured: Cornmill Centre Manager Susan Young with St Teresa’s Hospice Chief Executive Jane Bradshaw

A special Christmas tree that gives people the chance to remember lost loved ones and raises money for a hospice is back in all its glory.

The St Teresa’s Hospice Giving to Life tree, in the Cornmill Centre, in Darlington, was only able to pay a short visit last year due to the lockdowns.

Its return is expected to be greeted with affection as people, for whom it has become an annual Christmas ritual, are able once again to leave messages on the tree and support the hospice at the same time.

Chief Executive of St Teresa’s Hospice Jane Bradshaw said: “We know it’s uncertain times so we are really, really grateful to the Cornmill for having us back.

“The Cornmill has welcomed us for at least 20 years and in that time donations received at the tree have totalled over £100,000. The team at the centre have helped promote it and we’d really like to thank them for their support.

“We appreciate it’s been a difficult year for many and we hope that people who are passing by will think of us and someone they miss and commemorate them in this special way.”

Greeted by hospice volunteers, visitors are asked to donate a minimum of £2 for a paper bauble on which they can write a message and hang it on the Giving to Life tree. They also receive their choice of a special pin badge, which have become collector’s items over the years; this year’s new addition is a dove.

Jane added: “Along with personal messages, we get a lot of goodwill messages, people wishing the world a good Christmas and hope for better times ahead. We think the new dove badge representing peace is particularly apt this year.”

The tree will be on the lower level of the Cornmill Centre until Christmas Eve and volunteers will be giving their time to be there from 10am-4pm Monday-Saturday and from 10.30am-4pm on Sundays.