CARING Stratford residents can remember a loved one while helping to raise cash for a good cause.
Goodwill and Growth for Africa UK (GAGA) on Timothy’s Bridge Road is preparing to unveil its Remembering Tree in Bancroft Gardens in a bid to raise more than £5,000 to support its work in some of Africa’s poorest communities.
Volunteers will be ‘yarn bombing’ – wrapping a tree in blanket – this weekend, with the blanket being made up of more than 1,500 crocheted synthetic wool squares.
Half of these are produced in South Africa by women from poor communities, with the other half sourced from communities in the UK.
The unique fund-raising initiative began in 2013 and has seen more than 700 people celebrated. Many Stratford businesses offer support and every school in the town take part.
And this year Andy Waterworth, of AWB Builders in Hatton, will be supplying manpower and scaffolding so the trees can be covered all the way up the trunk.
For a donation of £5, residents can purchase a square to remember a loved one or show someone special how much they care. People can also buy a small or large bauble to hang on the tree for £25 or £45 with up to six names on it.
And for the first time ever a small tree will also be available for £100 – allowing people to remember up to ten names or one business name.
There is no limit to the amount of squares that can be purchased and each name will be placed on a board next to the finished tree as well as being available online.
At the end of the fund-raising, the wool will be washed and recycled into blankets to be either sent back to southern Africa or given to a homeless charity.
GAGA charity director Sarah Hodgson said: “In South Africa more than six million people are HIV positive and in some of the areas GAGA is working, one in three people are suffering from HIV.
“It’s an issue that has eroded traditional family structures because the virus takes out the working age population leaving grandparents with the responsibility of bringing up children.
“In the worst cases, this responsibility falls upon older siblings, who are just adolescents themselves so by taking part people can have the satisfaction of knowing they’re helping someone in need.
“Remembrance, celebration and charity, that’s what Christmas is all about, and that’s what the remembering tree is all about.”
People can donate until December 11 and although contributions will still be accepted after that date, the names will not appear on the sign in front of the tree.
Visit www.gaga-uk.org/support-us/the-remembering-tree for more information.
* CHRISTMAS trees will be invading Wellesbourne next week.
Some 35 trees – sponsored and decorated by local businesses, shops and organisations – will be on display in the annual Christmas Tree Festival at the Methodist Church on the weekend of December 5 and 6.
Admission is free but donations will be gratefully accepted for the church’s chosen charitable projects Action for Children and church funds.
The trees can be seen from 10am to 6pm on Saturday and 11.30am to 4pm on Sunday which will be followed by a Christingle service.