THE festive season came early at a hospice after a generous donation from a Christmas tree grower.

St Helena Hospice received a delivery of eight fir trees from Fred Smith Christmas Trees, based in Straight Road, Boxted, Colchester.

The trees are now up and decorated around the hospice site in Barncroft Close, Highwoods, including in the SinglePoint office where hard-working nurses and call handlers are at the end of the phone 24/7, the Joan Tomkins Centre where people visit for bereavement support, the hospice canteen, and its inpatient unit.

The hospice’s matron, Niamh Eve, said the arrival of the trees officially marks the start of Christmas.

“The beautiful trees bring comfort to people staying with us in December as we try to make the atmosphere as homely as possible for patients and their visitors,” she said.

The family-run Christmas tree business has been supporting St Helena for more than 30 years.

Its owner, Tim Smith, said: “We like to support the hospice as it is a wonderful asset to the area and they excel themselves for local people.

“We do what we can to help, including picking up trees in the new year as part of their Tree-cycle fundraising scheme.”