The life of a Christmas tree can be a lonely one – after standing solo in the front room for a month, most then only have a brief stint laying outside by the bins to look forward to… but not in Lewisham! Here, we don’t only organise large support group gatherings for post-Christmas trees within our nicest parks, we also offer a door-to-gate service to get them there.
That’s right; Monday marked the annual GoodGym visit to (and efforts to expand on) the Hilly Fields Christmas tree collection points! This year we numbered 16 runners (including 4 first-timers: welcome Zoe, Karol, Joe and Alison!) and promptly split ourselves into 2 teams to allow more ground to be covered, plus to instigate some “friendly” competition.
As always, the name of the game was to search the many residential streets surrounding Hilly Fields for any discarded trees in need of a friendly lift to the park. It quickly became clear, however, that our previous record of 53(!) wouldn’t be under threat this year, with pickings looking slim. This meant the greater challenge became FINDING the trees rather than lugging them up the various hills to their resting place.
Thankfully our team have plenty of experience in spotting retired trees and it wasn’t long before the pine-counter started turning over, eventually reaching a total of 33, with respective team scores of 21 and 12. Which team was victorious? Naturally that’s not what’s important and it’s the taking part that counts (wrote the losing team leader!).
There remained just enough time for the group to “enjoy” some hill work, plus for a slightly lost member to be safely rounded up, before heading back to base camp at Glass Mills.
Our first group run of 2022 was taking us up and over the hills to Seniors to take down the Christmas decorations that we put up at the end of November. We were worried this indoor task wouldn't be able to go ahead and Seniors would have their Christmas decorations up until next year but armed with masks and a lot of space at Seniors we were good to go.
We left Glass Mill promptly as my New Years resolution was to get to and from Seniors on time and headed up and over the hills. We focused on using our arms up the hills whilst a group did a slightly longer route to get halfway up the hill - fantastic work everyone. We arrived at Seniors ready and raring to go.
We had less decorations to take down than expected but first we had to find all the boxes in the basement, we formed a human chain to bring them all up but then realised there weren't as many as we expected and a missing Christmas tree box. Fear not, we like a challenge and tied the tree together with string - fingers crossed we have no problems putting it up again next year!
Before we knew it, all the decorations had been taken off the trees and put back in boxes and it was time for the human chain to reform and get all the boxes safely stored in the basement.
After saying our goodbyes and arranging a group run in the garden for March, we headed back up the biggest hill to admire the views out to Canary Wharf. A welcomed downhill all the way to Glass Mill and we arrived back with time to spare.
Join us next week for our 6th birthday group run. We're heading out to collect as many abandoned Christmas trees as possible. Our record is 40+ Christmas trees collected on one group run.
It would be great to see as many red t-shirts as possible along the route and in the finish area to spread the word about all the good we are doing in the borough.
There's plenty of options to choose from, including marshals, barcode scanners, finish tokens and tail walker. See what's available on the volunteering page and don't forget to sign up here
Don't forget about the post-Parkrun coffee at the cafe in the park!
Molly (my dog) will also be in attendance in her GoodGym bandana