A CHARITY treecycle event has kickstarted new year fundraising efforts for Mary Stevens Hospice - bringing in more than £17,000.

More than 1,200 real Christmas trees were collected in the Black Country and surrounding areas in exchange for a donation to the hospice which has been hit hard by the loss of many of its usual fundraising event due to the Covid-19 crisis.

This year the hospice covered 10 postcodes in the local area, with supporters simply leaving their real Christmas trees outside of their property for hospice staff and volunteers to collect over the weekend.

Tree surgeons were on site at the hospice over the weekend and trees were also taken to Hagley Christmas trees in Broome where they were also chipped and recycled.

Hospice chiefs said they were confident the event could be carried out safely, with staff and volunteers working under strict Covid-safety conditions following advice from West Midlands Police and local authorities - and it has helped to raise more than £17,000 to help fund patient care.

A spokesman for the hospice said: "Volunteer collectors worked tirelessly over the weekend collecting Christmas trees from all over the borough. Combined with the incredible support from the local community, this treecycle became the most successful the hospice has organised."

Following its success, plans are no already being made to ensure the post-festive fundraising event is held again in January 2022.