The Christmas holidays have come and gone, but the echoes of festive cheer and community spirit still resonate at The Friary Guildford. Throughout December, Guildford’s largest shopping centre hosted two heart-warming community initiatives - The Christmas Tree Festival and The Giving Tree, both raising smiles and crucial support for eleven local charities.
The Christmas Tree Festival, which was launched at the end of November, showcased ten beautifully decorated trees, each a unique creation by a local charity. Throughout the festive season, visitors to The Friary were captivated by the creativity of each tree and were able to learn about the invaluable work these organisations do to help support our community. Shoppers and locals were encouraged to vote for their favourite best dressed tree right up ‘til New Year’s Eve, with the Royal Surrey Charity being named this week as the winning charity and being awarded a generous £1,000 donation from The Friary Guildford.
The other local charities that participated in The Friary’s Christmas Tree Festival were, Art-Venture, Guildford Action, Guildford Cathedral, Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, North Guildford Food Bank, Surrey Wildlife Trust, The Fountain Centre, The Salvation Army Guildford and Zero Carbon Guildford.
**Sandy Lowry, Community & Events Fundraising Manager for the Royal Surrey Charity said: **“We are absolutely thrilled to be the winner of The Friary’s Christmas Tree Festival 2023. I would like to thank The Friary Guildford for organising this wonderful Christmas community event for local charities to not only bring festive joy with their beautifully decorated trees but to highlight the amazing work they do. The Royal Surrey Charity are so grateful to The Friary for allowing us to be part of this. I would also like to say an enormous thank you to everyone for their support in voting for us, we are so grateful to you all.”
The Friary’s Community Christmas events also included The Giving Tree which was launched in aid of Shooting Star Children's Hospices, bringing festive joy to families across Surrey facing difficult times. Shooting Star Children’s Hospices supports families from diagnosis to end of life and throughout bereavement with a range of nursing, practical, emotional, and medical care.
Shoppers generously selected a tag and donated gifts to The Giving Tree, ensuring these families could create special memories during the festive holidays. From the generosity of the local community a total of 250 gifts worth more than £6,200 were donated and delivered in time for Christmas with the kind support of local business Cheeseman Bros Ltd.
Vicky Hickson, Centre Manager of The Friary Guildford said, "We are proud to have fostered a spirit of giving and celebration here at The Friary this Christmas. All the charity trees looked amazing, and we really appreciate all the time and effort their volunteers put in to make them look so festive. A big congratulations to The Royal Surrey Charity and we hope the donated gifts brought much joy to the families supported by Shooting Star Children’s Hospices. We are extremely grateful to all our shoppers and local community for taking the time to vote, donate and support our community events making this Christmas season truly special for Guildford.”
To keep up to date with what’s on at The Friary Guildford, follow their Facebook and Instagram accounts or visit the centre’s website www.thefriaryguildford.com https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npdBvumi8Bg - Click here to watch the Christmas Tree Festival at The Friary