A man from Pirton, just outside Hitchin, has raised £3,685 for Sue Ryder by hosting his first Christmas tree fundraiser.

David Thomas started supporting Sue Ryder, a palliative, neurological and bereavement support charity, after his mum was cared for at its Moggerhanger-based hospice in 2016.

The Christmas tree fundraiser, which also featured festive wreaths, tree stands and winter fuel for sale was held over two weekends this December at the Motte and Bailey pub in Pirton.

David, 47, said: “My mum, Kathy, passed away at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice and while I miss her massively and always will, I feel like her time at the hospice was a positive and happy experience.

“This is all down to all of the staff there. I can’t speak highly enough about how everything was dealt with and how lovely everyone was.”

The Comet: David Thomas with his wife, AllisonDavid Thomas with his wife, Allison (Image: Sue Ryder)

David began raising money for Sue Ryder, and had already donated £5,218 ahead of his festive fundraiser.

“I used to own a small garden centre so I held a few fundraising weekends through my business, donating money from plant sales,” he said. 

“A year after mum died I also did an ultramarathon in the Lake District which was good fun.

“When I closed my nursery business earlier this year, I knew I still wanted to support Sue Ryder, so using my existing contacts I set up a Christmas tree charity sale from a pop up at my local pub who kindly offered me their outside space to use.

“If I do any fundraising it will always be for Sue Ryder. I am delighted with how well it’s gone and can’t thank people enough for their support.”

Charlotte Griggs, community fundraiser at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice, said: “A huge thank you to David and everyone who supported him.

"It’s such an incredible amount raised with all money going towards helping the charity to continue to be there when it matters.”

If you are still looking for the perfect Christmas tree to furnish your home this festive season, some of David’s real six and seven foot Nordmann Fir Trees remain on sale at the Sue Ryder shop on Ampthill Road in Bedford.