Rotary tree for Christmas charity

The city’s Rotary Club’s annual ‘Rotary Tree of Remembrance’ charity fundraising drive is to be launched at Foyleside this Saturday.

The festive charity event, follows last year’s very successful project during which the public generously donated a total just over £17,000.

Rotarians will be on duty at the tree from 10am until 8pm every day for the 14 days prior to Christmas - right up until Christmas Eve. Last year local Rotarians spent over 900 hours at the tree during some of our most severe weather conditions, but they have not been put off this year and already have signed up to 1,100 hours in support of this very worthy project.

The Tree of Remembrance project involves members of the public being invited to write a short message of remembrance onto a yellow ribbon in recognition and memory of departed loved ones, those living abroad and unable to be with them at Christmas, family or friends in hospital and other messages of remembrance. The message ribbon will then be attached to a tape and gradually hoisted to the top of the Remembrance Tree, as the tapes filled up. Individuals are also invited to place a voluntary donation in a collection box.

The funds raised in 2010 were divided between a number of charities including The Foyle Haven, The Alzheimer’s Society, The NSPCC (Foyle) and Polio Plus (Rotary’s Own Polio Eradication Fund). This year the money raised will be used to help various local charities and community projects that the Rotary Club is involved in.

The Tree of Remembrance will again be located at the Orchard Street entrance of Foyleside Shopping Centre. It is hoped that this fundraising event, which was the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, will be even more successful than last year.

The official project launch this Saturday is due to be attended and supported by the Mayor of Derry and representatives of the four main Churches.

Rotary Club President Maurice Brennan said: “ Last year’s project was an excellent success and we were overwhelmed by the generous Derry/Londonderry public, without forgetting also the many visitors to the city at this time of year who also made generous donations. We were delighted to be able to give over 5,500 people the opportunity to put their message on the tree and quite often share with the Rotarians on the stand their individual heartfelt and moving stories. Many members of the general public commented to the Rotarians on how wonderful an idea the Tree was. I personally feel that this was one of our most positive community projects of the Year for which I and every member of the local Club were proud to be involved with.”