Ryhope residents launch Christmas tree Facebook campaign

Chris Young and Cris Watson Hope are collecting donations for a Christmas tree for Ryhope.

Chris Young and Cris Watson Hope are collecting donations for a Christmas tree for Ryhope.

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A WEARSIDE community hopes to be rocking around the Christmas tree this festive season.

Ryhope residents are clubbing together to pay for a tree which will light up the village green this December.

In the past few days, hundreds of pounds have been pledged to pay for a tree, and more than 1,100 people have joined a Facebook group in support of the project.

Organisers estimate it would cost about £4,000 to buy, light and install the tree, as well as paying for public liability insurance.

It’s believed this is the first time Ryhope would have a community Christmas tree to call its own.

Chris Young, 44, who is leading the tree campaign with fellow Ryhope resident Cris Watson Hope, said: “We think it would be a really good idea to have a tree on the green, as a focal point for Christmas, so we decided to do it ourselves.

“We’ve been canvassing opinion from the community and everyone is really excited. In just four days more than a thousand people joined the Facebook group.”

It’s hoped the tree would become an annual feature on the green and would be at the centre of other festive events, such as a carol service.

Chris added: “The village green is common land so there’s been some confusion over permission for the tree, but we’ve asked all the villagers who have given their permission.

“We’ll be setting up a community committee for the project. We’ve been overwhelmed by the support for this, it just goes to show how much it’s bringing the community together.

“It’s also the first village people drive through off the A1080 into Sunderland, so it’s something other people can enjoy too.”

Local businesses will be stocking collection boxes for the campaign.

• For more information on how to support the campaign, search “Christmas Tree for Ryhope Village Green” on Facebook or follow the campain on Twitter @RyhopeCommunity.