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Let there be light! Grandmother’s bid to light up tree in Great Yarmouth’s St George’s Park

PUBLISHED: 08:18 27 July 2017 | UPDATED: 08:18 27 July 2017

Julie Staff  is fundraising to light up the biggest tree in St George's Park, Yarmouth.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Julie Staff is fundraising to light up the biggest tree in St George's Park, Yarmouth. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

A grandmother has launched a crusade to bring light to a Great Yarmouth park, after drawing inspiration from a dark time.

Around Christmas, 59-year-old Julie Staff had three close family members in hospital - her husband Shaun and twin grandchildren Missy and Boy.

Mr Staff was suffering from gall bladder troubles while the twins were both suffering from bronchiolitis, with five-week-old Missy’s condition growing so severe that she was transferred the Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge.

During this time, Mrs Staff would drive past St George’s Park, in between visiting hospitals and working, which planted the idea for her campaign.

She said: “When I would drive past in the evening it would just look so dark and miserable. It looked really bleak and reflected how I was feeling at the time.

“It got me thinking just how nice it would look if the trees were lit up. It would make such a difference to the place.”

She arranged meetings with councillors about the possibility, however, was informed funding could not be made available for it.

Now, she has vowed to make it happen herself, by raising funds to light up the biggest tree in the park, near the war memorial.

Mrs Staff, of Euston Court, added: “St George’s Park is like a stepping stone between the town centre and the seafront, so being able to light it up in the night would be really good for it.

“Sometimes when you’re feeling down, seeing something beautiful can make a big difference and give you a lift, so I would love to be able to do that.”

After setting up a crowdfunding page, she is hoping it attract the same kind of community reaction that helped her successfully campaign for a memorial to victims of the 1845 suspension bridge collapse in 2013.

She said: “When I campaigned for the memorial, it was the people of Great Yarmouth that made it happened. Even if people only gave the smallest amount of money, it made it a reality.

“I’d love for the same end result this time, although I appreciate raising the funds will be very hard.”

Both Mr Staff and the twins have made full recoveries, but Mrs Staff is still motivated to make her dream come true, setting herself the target of raising the £2,800 needed to light up the one tree.

To donate, visit her JustGiving page.

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