Light up the tree to remember loved ones

Rhona Dunn,  President of the Rotary Club of Morpeth.
Rhona Dunn, President of the Rotary Club of Morpeth.
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Residents can now take part in a new Morpeth initiative.

The Tree of Light will be illuminated in Sanderson Arcade from November 14 until January 2.

Established by Morpeth Rotary Club president Rhona Dunn, it is giving people the opportunity to sponsor a light in memory of loved ones and a book is going to be placed beside the tree to list those who have donated and the people they have commemorated.

Leaflets, which include a section for people to include their details and write an (optional) message, are being given out to shops, churches and community organisations. Residents can also provide this information on a form produced in this week’s Morpeth Herald.

Donations need to be sent or handed in to Brumell & Sample Solicitors in Bridge Street.

The tree will be illuminated at 5pm on Saturday, November 14. The lights will be switched on by Dr Caroline Pryer, Deputy Lieutenant of Northumberland.

Attractions during the afternoon include The Band of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and school choirs from Chantry and Newminster. Children will also be able to meet Santa.

In addition, there will be a children’s day event in December for the Young People’s Garden of Light.

The proceeds from the project will go to the Great North Air Ambulance Service, Cancer Research North East and Barnabas Safe and Sound – the Arcade’s chosen charity for the year.

Mrs Dunn said: “I’ve gone through the apprehension and anxiety stage and so I’m now very excited as we build towards the switch-on, especially as I’ve been very encouraged by the number of supportive comments I and fellow Rotary Club members have received.

“It’s amazing how many people have asked about the Morpeth Tree of Light over the last few months and hopefully, this means we will get a good response and big turnouts for the events. We have already received quite a few donations.

“It’s all about involving the community and I decided that it would be good to try and make a big splash as the first female President of Morpeth Rotary.

“The tree is the main fund-raising initiative for my year in the role and I’m also doing some personal activities – one I’ve already done is an abseil at Langdale in the Lake District.

“The sponsorship we’ve received has fully covered the costs of the Tree of Light and the garden for young people, so 100 per cent of the donations will go to the three charities.”

She thanked Castle Carpets, MKM Building Supplies, Rickard Chartered Surveyors, Gott Technical Services and Piramal Healthcare for their financial sponsorship and the Herald and Sanderson Arcade for their support. The Young People’s Garden of Light, which will be near the tree, will be opened by The Duchess of Northumberland at 3.30pm on Saturday, December 12.

The Morpeth First School Choir will perform and there will be a range of Christmas-related attractions at the Arcade during the afternoon. Grass has been donated for the garden and it will also include about 500 lights.

For more information about the initiative and events, email rhonadunn@gmail.com