Residents are being invited to leave tributes to their loved ones by visiting the Tree of Remembrance and making a donation to Butterwick Hospice Care.
The Mayor of Stockton-on-Tees, Councillor Ken Dixon, was joined by the Mayoress at the official opening of the special tree on Saturday (3 December) as it was unveiled at Castlegate Shopping Centre.
The tree gives shoppers the opportunity to write a special message on a card bauble and hang it up to remember those who have passed away – all while supporting Butterwick Hospice Care.
The charity provides specialist care and support to people with life limiting illnesses and also offers support to families during difficult times.
The Mayor of Stockton-on-Tees, Councillor Ken Dixon, said: “It is a real privilege to be invited to open Stockton’s Tree of Remembrance this year and be one of the first to hang a bauble in memory of a loved one.
“Butterwick Hospice Care does so much amazing work throughout the year but their services come into an even keener focus around Christmas when we take time to reflect and remember people we have lost.
“I’d encourage everyone to come down to the Castlegate Shopping Centre and pay a visit to the Tree of the Remembrance and make a small donation to the Butterwick while they are here doing some Christmas shopping.”
Jackie Firth, Communications Manager for Butterwick Hospice, said: “Christmas is a very special time at Butterwick Hospice, when we make every effort to ensure our patients and their loved ones enjoy quality time together.
“The donations given by those leaving a message on the Butterwick Tree of Remembrance will be used over the festive season to support local families who are suffering the effects of a life limiting illness.
“Writing a message and hanging it on the tree is also a lovely way for people to remember cherished loved ones they can’t be with this Christmas.”
Tracey Surtees, Acting Centre Manager for Castlegate Shopping Centre, said: “Over the years Castlegate has supported the Butterwick Hospice and we are pleased to be able to continue our support this Christmas.
“At what for many is a difficult time of year, the tree gives the public the opportunity to take a moment and remember a loved one who is no longer here. Their donation will also enable the charity to continue their valuable work in the future.”
The popularity of the tree saw £1,739 raised for the charity last Christmas time.
For more information on Butterwick Hospice Care, visit www.butterwick.org.uk