Christmas tree arrives at Derian House Hospice

Children at a Chorley hospice have been given a 25-foot tall Christmas gift by kind-hearted forestry workers at United Utilities.

The enormous Douglas Fir was donated by the water company after they saw an appeal by Derian House Children’s Hospice on social media.

The tree, thought to be around 45 years old, was felled at Delph forest which is part of the 1,100 hectare Rivington and Belmont Estate woodlands.

Caroline Taylor, Communications Manager at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “We can’t thank United Utilities enough for their incredibly generous donation. The tree looks fantastic at the front of the hospice and gives our children and their families a wonderfully festive welcome as they enter our driveway.  Derian House Children’s Hospice looks after more than 400 seriously ill children every year, and yet receives very little funding from the government. It’s only with the help of generous supporters like United Utilities that we are able to give our families a Christmas to remember.”

Michael Bullivant is the Woodland Officer for United Utilities and he explained that it was an honour to be able to help: “When we saw that the hospice were in need of a big tree, I knew where we could find one that would fit the bill.  This could be the last Christmas tree some of these children will ever see so we knew it had to be a really good one.  We are very much part of the community.  Our reservoir estates are enjoyed by thousands of visitors and, while we no longer grow trees commercially for sale to the public, it’s a pleasure to be able to play our part by gifting a few trees each year.”

The Derian House tree is one of 17 large Christmas trees gifted to the community this year by United Utilities. The others have been donated to primary schools, churches and village halls across Lancashire.

In recent years the focus of the forestry team has been on establishing native woodland which provides a more natural habitat for wildlife around the reservoirs.  The trees act as the first part of filtration in the water treatment process, their roots helping to slow the flow of rainfall and prevent soil from eroding into the reservoir.

United Utilities recently announced its plans to plant 500,000 new trees by 2025.