BRIGHT AND CHEERY: Clare Cotton displays her
BRIGHT AND CHEERY: Clare Cotton displays her "tree of love and hope" designed to lift community spirit during the coronavirus pandemic.

KEEPING SPIRIT ALIVE: J&J fans to dress trees at home

WARWICK favourites like the “Jumpers & Jazz in July” Festival may have been cancelled this year due to the coronavirus, but one resident is keeping community spirit up in a different way.

Warwick resident Clare Cotton has started an initiative called “Trees of Love and Hope”, which encourages members of the community to decorate or “dress up” a tree in their yard as a way of staying connected while in isolation.

Ms Cotton said she was inspired by the success of the community tree decoration she co-ordinated last year during the Jumpers & Jazz event.

“Individuals brought chains of fabric and other materials and hung them on the community tree,” Ms Cotton said.

“It was a clear demonstration of the idea that lots of people want to join in but decorating an entire tree may be a daunting task.

The theme (of the tree) was ‘connect’, and now that I have all of those things left on the community tree, I feel connected with all of those people.”

However, once the coronavirus and social distancing rules meant that a community tree, and events like Jumpers & Jazz itself would be impossible, Ms Cotton decided to branch out and keep the community spirit alive on her own.

“If you’re feeling love, it gets out there – and by the same token, if you’re feeling anger and aggression it gets out there

I’m trying to put comfort, love, warmth, and friendship out there, especially at a time like this.”

Ms Cotton said that the Trees of Love and Hope were already taking off interstate and possible even worldwide through word of mouth or social media.

“I have a friend in Melbourne doing it – she has been up for times in the past for Jumpers & Jazz, and I sent the idea down to her because we obviously can’t do tree jumpers this year,” she said.

“I’ve got cousins in England and America and sent the message to them as well, and thought it would be amazing if it could spread anywhere.

If we could just get something started – from little things, big things grow.”

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