M&S launch memory tree in Darwin Centre to support Severn Hospice
14th August 2014
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Caring staff at Shrewsbury’s top department store are to launch a Memory Tree for a much-loved local charity this weekend.

The Sports and Social Club at Marks and \Spencer in the busy Darwin Shopping Centre voted this year to make the Severn Hospice their nominated local charity.

And this weekend they will put up a Memory Tree at the entrance to the store for customers to write their messages on the leaves and make donations.

Hoping to raise lots of money is a young woman who is used to dealing with plenty of ready cash, Anna Rouse, 21, who works in the store’s Bureau de change and the Tree is her brainchild.

She’s even made it herself and she said: “It’s our main charity so we’ve decided to put a board up at the front of the store with the tree on it where people can make memory notes and thank Severn Hospice for their help and support.

“It’s a wonderful charity which does so much good work and I know there are quite a number of members of staff here who have cause to be grateful to the Hospice for the care they have given to family and friends.

“When we came to pick the charity people who nominated them had to explain why we should choose their suggestion and there were so many who had such wonderful stories about the care at Severn Hospice.

“I am quite arty and I enjoy volunteering for things so I said I’d make the tree and get it set up but all the staff here at M&S in the Darwin Centre are right behind the charity.”

The Memory Tree will go up on Friday and will be there in the store through Saturday and Sunday before being sent to the Severn Hospice.

Anna is no stranger to fund-raising efforts herself. The keen amateur artist who lives in Belle Vue Gardens, in Shrewsbury, made almost £1,000 last year for Macmillan Cancer when she auctioned off some of her paintings in store.

Kevin Lockwood, Manager of the Darwin, Pride Hill and Riverside Shopping Centres, said: “This is a lovely idea by the staff at M&S who raise a tremendous amount of money for local charities every year.

“It’s also a really nice piece of artwork and will look great both in the store and in the hospice after this weekend as well as being a wonderful way of capturing just what the Severn Hospice means to so many people.”

Severn Hospice is this year celebrating 25 years since it first opened its doors in 1989 and it provides care and support for a huge area of Shropshire and Mid Wales with in-patient wards at its hospices in Shrewsbury and Telford.

Leah Brookes, of Severn Hospice, said: “We provide end of life care and also symptom control and we also help people maintain their independence for as long as possible with care at home as well as Hospice at Home for those who wish to die at home.

“It costs us £9 million a year and two-thirds of that is raised by public donations so that’s very important and we’re very grateful for the support we get from people like the staff at M&S and their generous customers.

“It has helped us care for people for 25 years and in that time we’ve helped over 23,000 people and their families.”

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