VOLUNTEERS raise over £17k for a children’s hospice after collecting more than 2000 Christmas trees following the festive period.

Hundreds of Dorset residents took part in the Julia’s House tree collection last month, a free service with an optional donation to support the charity.

It was the third year of the service, with a record-breaking number of trees collected.

Dorset residents contributed 1463 trees and a further 627 in Wiltshire, raising a total of £17,229.

This was a huge increase compared to last year’s collection of 404 in Dorset and 230 in Wiltshire.

Once gathered, the tree were taken to ECO Sustainable Solutions in Christchurch and Adventure Pirate in Lytchett Minster to be recycled as chippings on farmland and community spaces.

Charlie Squires, from the Julia’s House fundraising team, said: “We’ve been blown away by the response we’ve had to our tree collection, it’s been brilliant to see bookings more than triple in Dorset.

“We’d like to say a jolly big thank you to everyone who helped make this year’s event a fundraising success, from our dedicated team of helpers to the local people who made donations for their tree collection.”

She added: “We’re thrilled to have raised these vital funds to support our care for local families, and we hope to make our tree collection even bigger and better next year.”

The Dorset children’s hospice charity relies almost entirely on donations from the community to fund its respite breaks and compassionate care for seriously ill children and their families.