Weekly Community Roundup – 31st January 2020

Recycling over 150,000 Christmas cards provides new trees in Solihull

Thomas Bragg & Sons Funeral Directors have amassed donations of 301,084 Christmas cards for recycling, raising funds for a West Midlands hospice.

For every 10,000 cards collected by Thomas Bragg & Sons Funeral Directors, a new tree has been planted at Temple Fields Natural Burial Ground (30 on total) while recycling company Smurfit Kappa will donate to St Giles Hospice based on the total weight of the cards.

Funeral Arranger Kayleigh Hughes said: “Some people get an unbelievable number of Christmas cards around the festive season and 2019 was no exception.

“Thomas Bragg & Sons joined St Giles Hospice’s appeal for people to recycle their cards and help the environment and the response has been overwhelming.”

St Giles Hospice has appealed for Christmas card donations for several years, raising nearly £50,000 to aid their work in supporting patients with incurable illnesses.

A number of Solihull organisations including the Knowle Society, Dorridge Primary School, Greswold Primary School and Shirley Lions Club have helped deliver, count and raise awareness for Thomas Bragg & Sons’ collection, which saw cards donated from as far as Newcastle.

Kayleigh said: “With the ability to protect the environment and support St Giles Hospice’s invaluable work at the same time, residents have been more than willing to get hands-on with the initiative.”

Sally Insley, Corporate and Community Fundraising Manager at St Giles Hospice, said: “We’d like to thank everybody who has donated cards – and all of our friends at Thomas Bragg for collecting them for us.

“Recycling your Christmas cards for St Giles is a great way to raise funds for the hospice, and by cutting paper waste it’s environmentally friendly at the same time.”

This year marks Thomas Bragg & Sons’ third annual collection for St Giles Hospice, having gathered 5,000 cards in 2017, 33,000 cards in 2018 and more than tripled its 50,000 goal for 2019/20.

The success story featured on Birmingham TV, to watch the clip click on the link to the Birmingham TV Facebook page below:


Funeral Director to film director

HAVEN Funeral Services turned its Hillingdon branch into a film set for local students entering the European Student Film Festival.

Funeral Director Brian Hartland and Area Development Manager Steve Thomas helped the pupils from ACS International School shoot their drama, named Destination Funeral, after closing hours.

Brian said: “The British stiff upper lip means many people tend not to talk about funerals, and we want to break that mind-set by helping the community in exciting ways like this.” Destination Funeral director Inny Smith approached Brian after settling on the script, the finale of which takes place in a funeral home, and was ecstatic to get the go-ahead.

Brian and Steve then invited the students and their head teacher to their branch after closing hours, supervising them over four hours as they shot the final scenes. Destination Funeral will premiere at the European Student Film Festival in Amsterdam, which brings together young filmmakers from across the continent.

Pinks brings cheers to care home residents

A Surrey care home had its communal room transformed into a bar with help from Pinks Funeral Directors, South Croydon, giving residents with dementia the feeling of going out again.

Supported by Regional Development Manager Jamie Groves, Funeral Director Karen Rattigan donated £250 and a bar sign made from four light boxes to complete Elizabeth Court Care Home’s very own local, which was built from furniture donated by the closing Golden Lion pub.

Karen said: “No residents should have to miss going out with family and friends from fear of being far from support, so when

Elizabeth Court suggested bringing the pub to them, we were delighted to help.”

Pinks has supported a number of care homes including Elizabeth Court for over four years, helping establish a tearoom, sweet shop and ongoing coffee morning on their premises.