A TREE surgeon has used his experience of working at heights to branch out in support of a North-East charity.
Andrew Walters has covered his house and garden, in Stillington, near Stockton, with 240 metres of string bulbs and a variety of illuminated Christmas lights to raise money for Butterwick Hospice Care.
Andrew is accustomed to working at a height and used his skills as well as his contacts to create an impressive display.
He said: “I absolutely love Christmas, and after all the challenges of this year, I felt we needed to brighten the place up.
“I love doing the lights. I’ve done it for a few years now, and this time I wanted to do it for Butterwick Hospice. It’s a very good charity, and it seemed like the right choice, given all they do for children, especially at Christmas.”
Megan Davidson, Butterwick’s engagement executive, said: “Andrew has done such a wonderful thing for his local community, and we’re overjoyed that he’s decided to use his display to raise money towards our work this year.
“There’s something very symbolic about what he’s doing – just like our hospice, Andrew is bringing some joy and light into people’s lives during dark times.”
It took Andrew about three weeks to create the display, working from 5pm to 9pm every night after finishing work.
“Having friends in the trade has really helped,” he said. “My friend, Matthew Turnball, brought his cherry-picker over and that helped to do the roof. It’s not just a case of plugging in a few lights! I’d also like to say a big thank you to my welder mate, Dave Carleton, who made the bracket for the tree.”
Andrew also thanked Darlington-based Signs Express for providing all the signage, Gary Robinson, from GWR Electrics, who fitted outside sockets, and local farmer Paul Baker for providing the tree itself.
Jo Wallis, Butterwick’s head of business development & marketing, said: “Like many charities, Butterwick Hospice Care has been impacted by Covid-19 this year. The usual reliable income streams which support our services, charity shops, lottery and fundraising activities have all struggled.
Anyone wanting to see Andrew’s display can visit 13 Park Crescent, Stillington. Donations to Butterwick Hospice Care can be made by visiting virginmoneygiving.com/AndrewWalters9 or by donating in person at Andrew’s front gate by scanning the displayed QR code with a mobile phone.
Andrew added: “People always ask what it does to my electric bill. The truth is it adds about £90 on, but I’m happy to pay that so all the donations can go directly to the Hospice.
“The only bit I’m not looking forward to is wrapping all the lights back up!”