Tree of Remembrance Project – 23 February 2021

Last week’s meeting got off to a great start – well for Alex Thompson that is. He won the bottle of whisky in the first of the newly-introduced raffles to raise money for Unity Grill’s Inconvenience Store.

We welcomed three guests to our meeting: Laura Kerr of South Ayrshire Council and two prospective new members, Julie Bain and her friend Helen. They were there to hear the story of the Tree of Remembrance, a Rotary project presented by our guest speaker for the evening, John Brown of Kilsyth Rotary Club.

John began by explaining that, in 2004, when he lived and worked in Cork, Ireland, he first became involved with this terrific Rotary project. The Christmas tree, which is erected on Patrick Street each year is a collaboration between the Rotary Clubs of Cork and Bishopstown and allows people to write a personal dedication in memory of a loved one on a yellow ribbon with the aim of raising funds for local charities.

John then  went into some detail on the many benefits of this popular event.

Fundamentally, it is hugely popular with local communities and raises thousands of pounds each year in donations which go to helping many deserving charities. The clubs themselves decide their specific charities of choice but donating is entirely voluntary and involves no can-shaking. It is also a fantastic way of publicising the work of Rotary in the community and engaging, face-to-face, with the public. The tree itself is provided and erected by the local authority along with the essential basic additions which enable an array ribbons to be attached. There is a tremendous feel-good factor attached to the display which spins off into an enhanced civic pride and tangible benefits to the local economy, pulling in visitors from the wider area.

Much enthusiastic discussion followed John’s excellent presentation and both President Hazel and South Ayrshire Council’s Laura Kerr were particularly keen to explore the potential for a Tree of Remembrance in Ayr this coming Christmas.

John Dunlop thanked John for his stimulating talk and agreed it was a great project which had evident potential to be taken up by our club.