'Lonely' Christmas tree with its own Facebook page raising awareness of mental health problems

York Press: Janet Easton and Holly Pollard with the Skelton Christmas Tree Janet Easton and Holly Pollard with the Skelton Christmas Tree

CHRISTMAS can be a difficult time but one York woman has come up with an eye-catching way fighting the loneliness and isolation the season can bring.

A “lonely Christmas tree” has appeared near Skelton golf course, and has even started its own Facebook page and Justgiving site to raise awareness of mental health problems and money for York Mind.

Janet Easton, from Skelton, is behind both the decorated tree and its online profiles and said the idea had grown up over several years.

She said: “My Mum gave me a box of old family Christmas decorations, but I didn’t know what to do with them so they sat in my shed.

“Then, six years ago my Dad died in December. I travelled backwards and forwards to Whitby to see him a lot, and I remember seeing a single tree decorated on the roadside. I don’t know who had done it or why, but it always made me happy to see it. This year my daughters and I decided to do the same thing, just as something fun for us to do.”

With the help 16-year-old Emily and 14-year-old Florence Janet chose a tree on a popular dog walking route near her home and in October strung it with her old family decorations.

Before long, she decided to use the tree to help mental health charity Mind – a cause close to her own heart.

“The Facebook profile is light-hearted, but it does have links to organisations that can help people who are struggling.”

Holly Pollard, a community fundraiser at York Mind, said: “It’s absolutely brilliant. I am always amazed by the variety of things people do to raise money and Janet is doing something different, and relavent to the festive season.”

Find the tree online a www.facebook.com/thelonelychristmastreeyork or www.justgiving.com/thelonelychristmastreeyork

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