In the true spirit of the season, a big-hearted businessman and his team have saved the scout’s Christmas tree collection, by offering to do the gruelling fundraiser by themselves.

Each year the Ledbury Scouts collect Christmas trees for disposal, in the New Year, and up to £500 or more is raised this way for much-needed scout funds.

Proceeds from the collection usually go towards supporting activities for almost 100 youngsters, including Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorer Scouts.

But it was impossible for scouts to do the collection this year, because of Covid restrictions in Tier 2 Ledbury, and that is where landscape gardener Steve Large stepped in, with a kindly offer scout leaders could not refuse.

Ledbury Explorer Scout leader, Dr Robert Scholefield said: “This year because of the pandemic, none of the youngsters can be involved with the tree collection, and because of the limited ‘bubbles’ and reduced social contact, we initially considered cancelling the event.”

In fact, the scouts went as far as to put out an official statement through The Reporter, to say the collection was off.

But Dr Scholefield said: “The Christmas Tree Collection is back on! Landscape gardener Steve Large has generously offered to do the work on behalf of Western Explorer Scout Unit.

“Steve got in touch and said he is willing to provide three vehicles and find two people who are in a ‘bubble’ to go in each of them. Those, together with one leader and son combination will produce four teams. Usually we have had six or seven teams to cover the wider area we served previous years, so we have taken the decision to only offer the service to Ledbury town itself.

“Steve has actually helped out for the past two years. Previously he has come with a couple of trucks; the scout leaders and parents have provided others. Usually we have also had up to a dozen Explorer scouts as well, some in the vehicles some on foot collecting the trees, putting them onto the vehicles and generally helping.”

Dr Scholefield added: “I and Stuart Moore, another Explorer scout leader, are collecting and collating the requests and as in previous, years will work out a plan where to send the collecting vehicles.”

Mr Large said: “I haven’t offered to help to gain any credit. I decided to step in because it has been a difficult time for fundraising, and it would be a terrible shame if the Christmas tree collection didn’t happen.”

Mr Large’s team will go out on January 9 with three transits, and the collections are scheduled to take place from around 9am to 2pm, during which time up to 120 Christmas trees will be collected to order.

Anyone wishing to have their tree collected should email before January 6. Trees should be left outside the house. The cost of collection per tree will be £5.