Heading home for Christmas – Festival of Trees 2023

Delighted bidders collect their trees after another successful charity event.

Man holding an artificial Christmas tree stood at the entrance to a shop door way next to a woman

Bill Taylor collecting a Christmas tree decorated by HMG Paints

The air was filled with anticipation at Quayside MediaCityUK as shoppers and hospice supporters arrived to pick up their Christmas trees at the end of another successful Francis House Festival of Trees event.

Months of hard work by Francis House staff, volunteers and sponsors in transforming a pop-up shop into a magical festive display culminated in the event raising an incredible £21,000 in profit for the hospice.

The auction of 40 Christmas trees packed with gifts proved as popular as ever with the public placing bids ranging from £70 to £650 over a five week period in the run up to Christmas.

Man in a green hoodie stood in front of a Christmas tree

Mark Simpkin with one of the trees he brought home for Christmas.

Mark Simpkin was the successful bidder on not one but three trees decorated and donated by Worsley Rotary Club, DLA Piper and JP Goldman.

He said: “I really enjoyed the experience. I bid on three trees expecting to perhaps win one! I now have three wonderful trees in the house along with vouchers, booze and gifts.

“I liked the look of the trees and the vouchers have made ideal Christmas presents for the family. The decorations were high quality and most importantly, I didn’t have to dress them myself – it was all done for me. I have two children and they have said the house has never felt so Christmassy.”

As the owner of Adlington Memorial Park, Mark is acutely aware that Christmas can be a time of mixed emotions for many people.

“I realise that Christmas is joyful for some, but for others who have lost someone it can be horrendous. Hopefully the money raised from the auction will help a few more families during the most difficult of times.”

Woman wearing black coat holding a bauble stood in front of a Christmas tree with a large bag with the words Jo Malone on it

Clare Boyle placed the highest bid on the Lowbury Construction tree.

Hospice supporter Clare Boyle, a long-standing member of a committee in Alderley Edge that every year helps to organise the Francis House Christmas ball, was thrilled to discover she had the winning bid on a tree donated by Lowbury Construction.

She said: “It was very exciting bidding on the tree, it was definitely the Jo Malone products that drew me towards that one. I’ve known about the Festival of Trees for a while but never actually bid on one before. When the deadline for placing bids arrived, I kept refreshing my phone to make sure I was the highest bidder. I think I got it with seconds to spare and I was really pleased to have ‘won’ it!

“Francis House really is the most amazing place and such a lifeline for the people who need to use it. I would definitely encourage everyone to have a look at the Festival of Trees next year, there are some really fab prizes that will appeal to all.”

Three women stood holding hampers and boxes in front of Christmas trees

Annemarie Millership and friends collecting the Uplift Cafe tree

Francis House would like to thank Quayside MediaCityUK, who each year donate a unit in the centre, and all of the 2023 tree sponsors.

Kanes and friends. Morrisons, Lowbury Construction Ltd, Manchester City Football Club,  RTC (CitNOW Group), the Cash Family, Tesco East Didsbury, Apadmi Ltd,  JP Goldman, Urmston and District WI, Swizzles Matlow Ltd, Manchester Occupational Therapy Services, Rotary Club Worsley, My Learning File, Cardinal Global Logistics,  Manchester United Foundation, Towers Business Park, Quayside MediaCityUK, Uplift Café & Knitting Group Stretford, PMS International Ltd, The Cadbury Shop, GMI Construction, 2 Little Ducks Community Group, Eccles Cakes WI, DLA Piper, Flock & Gaggle, Crosslake Technologies, Cheadle Social Club, In memory of Toby, HMG Paints, Amaranth, Ben’s tree, Grosvenor Casino Stockport, Tinned Snail, Rhenus Logistics Ltd, Francis House Children’s Hospice, His & Hers tree, Lift Financial, Beaverbrooks the Jewellers.

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