Press Release March 2014



The Lake District Tree of Light in Keswick, which raises thousands of pounds for charities at Christmas every year, was chopped down yesterday.
All 5,000 lights have already been removed from the big beech tree next to the Cenotaph on Penrith Road after it was discovered that it had become infected with honey fungus.
It was feared that the loss of such a prominent position, plus the cost of felling the tree and removing the illuminations, would mean the end for the town's Tree of Light, which last year raised £5,500 for charities through people sponsoring individual lights in memory of a loved one.

However, a £1,000 donation has come from the town's market traders and the company that runs the market to help cover costs, while Fitz Park's trustees agreed for a different disease-free beech tree standing alongside the old one in a similarly prominent position to be used instead.
Arrangements have now been confirmed by Keswick Rotary Club, which has run the annual fund-raising venture for the last three years, for the lights to be put back up in the new location this coming Monday, six days after they were taken down. As an added bonus, an extra 1.000 lights are to be added to the new Tree of Light for this year's celebrations.
Doug Lowther, chairman of Keswick Rotary Club's Lake District Tree of Light Committee, praised Keswick Market Traders for their support, which ensured the Tree of Light could continue.
He said: "There was great concern when we learned the Tree of Light was diseased and would have to be felled. Fortunately the adjacent beech tree is healthy and the trustees of the park very kindly agreed that this second tree, which also stands in a very prominent position beside Penrith Road, could be used instead.
"The big problem facing the Rotary Club was the substantial cost of £1,000 to move the 5,000 LED lights to the new tree and here Keswick Market Traders has come to the rescue. We are extremely grateful to the market traders. Their donation is very much appreciated.
"We would also like to thank the trustees of Fitz Park for offering the use of another tree as the Tree of Light and to Mike Graham of Arbor-tech, who is felling the tree and moving the lights for us. I am also pleased to announce that the club has decided to purchase a further 1.000 LED lights for the new tree so this year it will look even better and brighter than in previous years."
The Tree of Light, which was chopped down on Thursday, offers people the opportunity in the run-up to Christmas to make a minimum £10 donation for a light to be lit to celebrate the life or memory of a loved one. Its patron is opera singer Lesley Garrett.
Sponsors' names are displayed on a board at the tree and on the charity's website, some with a short message. All proceeds go to charity, with the latest money going to Macmillan Cancer Support and several local charities as well as junior cricket and football in the town.
Phil Byers, manager of Keswick Market, said: "The traders are very aware of the wonderful support that Keswick Rotary Club gives to the town and the success that the Tree of Light has had in raising funds for charity and local causes. When we heard of the cost facing the club, the traders along with Geraud Market who run the market, were only too pleased to help by offering to make a donation of £1,000 to cover the costs."
Reported courtesy of “The Keswick Reminder”


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