2018 Wishing Tree raises £8,700

We would like to thank everyone who visited our Wishing Tree and charity Bric-a-Brac shop last year – helping to raise a magnificent £8,700 for their local Cancer Unit within Bath’s RUH. The 2 sites within Castle Place Shopping Centre were manned entirely by Volunteers, and the steadfast bank of supporters covered over 450 hours during the run up to Christmas.

The Tree, opened on the 24 November 2018 and ran until Christmas Eve, was also visited by Tenko and Open All Hours actress Stephanie Cole OBE, who took up the position of President of the BCUSG Charity earlier in 2018. Stephanie, who added her own Gold Butterfly and message to the tree, was delighted to visit Castle Place and was amazed at how popular the annual event has become. She spent half an hour chatting to volunteers and shoppers, before having to head back to London for rehearsals.

The Wishing Tree was the brain child of Shopping Centre Manager Julie Davis in 2013, who came up with the idea of a tree upon which people could hang a card containing their message for a loved or missed one, or a wish for the future. Diane Scott, a teacher at the local Morphew School of Dance, launched the tree with a group of tiny ballerinas and the Wishing Tree soon became very popular with many personal memories and hopes pinned to it. In that first year, the venture raised just over £2,500, and so the Charity were thrilled when Castle Place again set up the Wishing Tree in December 2014, with the addition of a small pitch from which to sell various items of Bric-a-Brac. The 2014 Tree was opened by Glastonbury Festival organiser Michael Evis, and second time around, the Wonderful Wishing Tree yielded £4,320.

The Charity and Shopping Centre Management team were therefore delighted when the final count took place on Christmas Eve, revealing the staggering amount raised during the sixth year of this popular festive addition for local shoppers and BCUSG supporters alike. Tino Polledri, branch Chairman, was hopeful the Tree and shop would exceed the 2017 total of £5,410 – but to smash the previous figure by over £3,000 was totally unexpected. Tino explained that this amount is purely from donations made during the 4 weeks that the Tree is in place, and is in addition to any other fundraising activities and legacy donations.

Many thanks also to local company Premier Prints, also located in Castle Place Shopping Centre, who added to the festivities this year by running a £250 prize draw for anyone who placed a message on the tree. More than 500 butterflies were pinned to the Tree, but the lucky winner was Helen Stevens, whose name was picked at random on the 20 December 2018.

Chairman Mike Taylor with Stephanie Cole

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Charity registration No. 292643