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Mum with brain tumour speaks of positive impact of volunteering

Ellie Mead, who has spoken about the benefits of volunteering Picture: PRECISION MARKETING

Ellie Mead, who has spoken about the benefits of volunteering Picture: PRECISION MARKETING

Archant

A Suffolk woman who has been diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour has spoken of the postive impact volunteering with a woodland charity has had on her life.

Jo Brooks, (centre) with volunteers at Eden Rose's Ipswich site Picture: PRECISION MARKETINGJo Brooks, (centre) with volunteers at Eden Rose's Ipswich site Picture: PRECISION MARKETING

Ellie Mead, 58, from Bures, near Sudbury, has been working with Eden Rose Coppice - which provides both end-of-life care and support to disadvantaged young people at sites in Sudbury and Ipswich.

Ellie said she has benefited from volunteering at the charity's Sudbury base and it has been a great form of support for her and her younger son Dan, who has cerebral palsy.

"I believe very strongly in the therapeutic power of woodland," she said. "I think I just really enjoy being part of a group of people who understand that if I'm not up for work I can just have a cup of tea and chat."

"After I first saw the wood, I got my younger son Dan to come and volunteer too.

Jo and Rob Brooks from Eden Rose Coppice Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNJo and Rob Brooks from Eden Rose Coppice Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

"He really enjoyed volunteering there and has become part of the woodland family. I think his speech has changed and his confidence has grown.

"When I was later diagnosed with a brain tumour I contacted the charity so they would be there as support when I told Dan."

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The charity has now been given 50 hawthorn and beech saplings as part of a national planting initiative.

Jo and Rob Brooks, from Eden Rose Picture: ARCHANTJo and Rob Brooks, from Eden Rose Picture: ARCHANT

Bury St Edmunds company the Precision Marketing Group delivered the trees as part of a campaign run by green energy supplier Octopus Energy to plant 10,000 trees around the UK.

The trees will be planted at Eden Rose's sites in Sudbury and at Brickmakers Wood in Ipswich, which was a previously neglected area home to rough sleepers and people taking drugs.

Jo Brooks, Eden Rose co-founder, said the new trees will "increase wellbeing for all".

"Brickmakers Wood was an urban woodland frequently used for illicit behaviour. The large sycamores that were left to grow prevented any light getting to the ground layer meaning nothing grew.

"The layers and layers of fly-tipped rubbish and drug paraphernalia meant that there was little to no wildlife.

"With proper woodland management and the introduction of a more varied species of native trees we expect the biodiversity to increase greatly. This is not only good for wildlife, it also means that visitors to our urban community woodland will gain a richer experience. The new trees will inevitably increase wellbeing for all."

MORE: Suffolk charity needs further funding to save one of its services

Paul Tyrrell, from Precision Marketing Group, said: "Octopus Energy is a leader in renewable energy and as a business passionate about the environment ourselves, we were proud to work with them on such a fantastic green initiative, especially seeing what a positive impact the scheme has had on all the schools, charities and community groups involved."

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