Catsfield Christmas tree farmer supporting air ambulance

Clive Collins and captain Kevin Goddard at Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm
Clive Collins and captain Kevin Goddard at Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm

A Catsfield Christmas tree farmer is raising funds for the air ambulance after he was airlifted by the charity helicopter 25 years ago.

Clive Collins, of Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm, is donating 10p from every tree sold to Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance after one of its pilots bought a tree today (Monday, November 30).

The 54-year-old was working as a forestry contractor when he fell 30ft from a tree and broke his back in 1990.

He was airlifted to the Conquest Hospital and left paralysed from the waist down but was able to launch his new business with the aid of a specially adapted tractor.

“My life has ended, that was the way I felt, that was my initial reaction,” he said.

“But then I started thinking I could make something out of my situation and there was no reason why I couldn’t have dreams and goals like everyone else.

“I’d always wanted to grow Christmas trees before I was paralysed because I love working outside in the fresh air and I was able to set the farm up so that it was accessible for me.”

Clive employs a team of 15 helpers at his 33-acre farm which produces about 2,000 trees a year for clients including TV presenter Ray Mears.

More than 6.5million Christmas trees are sold across the UK each year which is equivalent to the charity’s annual running costs.

Air ambulance captain Kevin Goddard said: “Clive’s farm is on my way to work and we’ve always bought our trees there since we moved to Bexhill.

“One of the things that attracted us is that you can walk round and select your tree.

“Clive then puts a ribbon around it and cuts it down on the day you pick it up.

“We usually get two, one for indoors and one for outside.”

The air ambulance was launched in December, 1989, and Clive was one of the first of thousands of people airlifted and lives saved after attending more than 25,000 call-outs.

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