Over a hundred people gathered to see the lights turned on at our official launch of the Tree of Light campaign 2017 and join in with carol-singing and remembering special people and causes.
The big pine tree in the Millennium Garden in Woolston was used for the first time this year after the spectacular umbrella pine tree became unmanageable and we had to opt for a smaller neighbouring pine tree. Frank Clewlow, husband of Annie Clewlow, manager of Communicare, transferred the lights with assistance from Barry Wake, Chair of the Woolston Millennium Garden and Richard Cully who is also associated with the garden.
Barry has been very kind in allowing us the use of their trees and for specifically allowing us the privilege of using a tree to be the Communicare Tree as part of our annual campaign to raise funds to combat loneliness in Southampton.
Sheriff Councillor Barnes-Andrews and his Consort Mrs. Barnes-Andrews attended the ceremony and counted down to the switching on of the lights once the children taking part in the Lantern Parade arrived by the tree.
We also had Reverend Miles Newton, Chairman of the board of Trustees for Communicare, attend and give a short speech before we sang carols together.
Frank said: “The challenges for this year were that it was very difficult to access the tree hence the need to use my climbing skills. On windy days the top of the tree moved so much that I thought I was getting motion sickness. The other problem was that pine needles get everywhere. When I got undressed there was a large pile of pine needles on the floor and a lot more still stuck in my clothes!”
Mr Leslie, the florist across the road donated Communicare £80.00 to buy some new lights for the tree which we proudly showed off on our tree at the lighting ceremony; thank you very much to him for his generosity and kindness.
We had a lovely time with the whole community; thank you to all that came.