The Rotary Tree of Joy goes up 16 and 17 November 2013 to begin Christmas gift initiative for children

November 15th, 2013 by Rotary Club of Guernsey

Putting up Rotary Tree of Joy lights on the Weighbridge roundabout, St Peter Port on 18 November 2012 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Putting up Rotary Tree of Joy lights on the Weighbridge roundabout, St Peter Port on 18 November 2012 (click image to expand – ©RLLord)

The iconic symbol for the Rotary Tree of Joy will be erected on the weekend of 16 and 17 November 2013.

Richard Collas, the Bailiff of Guernsey, will be helping to add the star at the top of the 110 foot high illumination.

The Rotary Tree of Joy on the Weighbridge roundabout in St Peter Port which is the tallest light tree in Europe, was first put up in 2005 and each year, a new addition has been made.

This year, new signage has been added featuring presents which will be illuminated at the base of the tree.

Rotarian John Hollis, who chairs the Rotary Tree of Joy committee, said “the Rotary Tree of Joy allows generous islanders to buy a gift for deserving children within the Bailiwick of Guernsey.”

“Since the initiative was launched we have helped deliver nearly 10,000 presents, which is very humbling,” he said.

“Having the illuminated Tree of Joy as the focal point raises the profile of our efforts and we know that islanders really enjoy seeing it as it adds to the festive spirit.”

“Last year, the Guernsey Press photographer volunteered to go to the top of the mast,” Mr Hollis said.

“This year we decided to ask someone to help put the star on the top, and we are delighted that the Bailiff has accepted the challenge and have also arranged for him to be interviewed at the top by BBC Guernsey presenter John Randall,” Mr Hollis said.

Next year, the Rotary Club will be offering islanders the chance to nominate and sponsor someone to be lifted to the top of the mast on a cold, winter’s day.

“There will be one individual, it might be a boss or a politician, a relative or a friend, sent up based on the highest pledged donation.”

“We thought this was a brilliant way of raising the profile of the Tree of Joy initiative earlier in the year,” he said.

The Rotary Tree of Joy reflected in a polished granite wall on 10 December 2012 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The Rotary Tree of Joy reflected in a polished granite wall on 10 December 2012 (click image to expand – ©RLLord)

The Weighbridge Tree of Joy, which is the height of an 11-storey building, is sponsored by Sure, Long Port, Deutsche Bank and will be turned on at 6 pm on Thursday 28 November 2013, ready for Father Christmas’ visit two days later when the main lights throughout St Peter Port will be turned on.

“We are extremely lucky to have a team of Rotary Elves, who give up their time, often in appalling weather, to attach 32 light strings to the top of the mast, and then secure them to the ground before adding the two metre high star,” Mr Hollis said.

Once again, the tree on the Weighbridge roundabout will be complemented by a real tree in Church Square and a smaller illuminated tree at the Airport.

Six hundred Tree of Joy ‘tags’, each identifying a specific Guernsey child by first name, age and gender, will be distributed to shops and businesses across the island.

Each tag includes details of the suggested Christmas present with a maximum guideline price of £25 suitable for the named child.

Islanders are asked to take a tag, purchase and wrap the suitable gift for the child named on the tag, and then return it to the participating businesses including most of the High Street bank branches, the main Guernsey Post Office, the Guernsey Visitors Information Centre, Aladdin’s Cave, Creasey’s Toy Shop, Josefs, Miss Nob and Fletchers Sports.

“The help we receive from Sure, Long Port and Deutsche Bank and the time from the team at Marine & General and Bob Froome and Sons ensures that there is no cost to Rotary and so we can use the limited funds we have to buy any last minute gifts,” Mr Hollis said.

Rotarian Jerry Girard, who was instrumental in launching the Tree of Joy, said it was a huge logistical project.

“Aside from the actual trees, the real challenge is distributing the tags to places around the island, collecting all of the presents, taking them to the Rotary grotto, and then arranging for them to be delivered to Father Christmas so that he can do the honours on Christmas Eve.”

“Thankfully we have a fantastic team of volunteers from both Rotary, and its sister organisation, Inner Wheel, who become busy elves for a few weeks.”

As well as helping needy children in the island, Rotary will also be supporting individuals and families by providing Christmas hampers.

The hampers are paid for using money which will be raised at a Rotary flag day on 30 November 2013.


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