19 December 2019

British Red Cross brings a festive twist to social media craze to highlight volunteers giving up their Christmas to help those in crisis

Emergency response volunteers lie on the floor with their life saving equipment in the shape of a christmas tree as part of our social media Te-tree challenge

The British Red Cross has created a festive twist on the Tetris Challenge that took social media by storm earlier this year.

An intriguing time lapse video, shot from the air, shows volunteers speedily emptying the contents of a Red Cross rapid response vehicle and laying them out in the shape of a Christmas Tree. The glittering stunt aims to shine a festive light on its dedicated team of volunteers, who will be giving up their Christmas to help those in crisis.

Blankets, torches, jars of baby food and trauma teddies, knitted by local volunteers to hand out to any children involved in emergencies, are amongst the vital items on board the Red Cross emergency response vehicles, that will be on the road over the Christmas period. 

The British Red Cross helps anyone, anywhere in the UK and around the world, get the support they need if crisis strikes – and that includes Christmas.

This festive season, volunteers up and down the country will be giving up their Christmas to help those in need.

Red Cross volunteer, Tim Cann, has been volunteering with the charity for 22 years and has been on-call during the holidays for more than 20 of them. 

Tim was called out to a flood in Bath a few Christmases ago. He arrived at a basement flat that was submerged in two-feet of water. The tenant, a young man in his twenties, was devastated. He’d lost his home and most of his possessions to the flood.

Tim said: “He had a bad night. I don’t always take it home with me, but I’ve thought a lot about him since the call-out.

“He lost everything. The man even lost one of his two pet chinchillas in the flood. It was really sad. The fire brigade was there, but they just didn’t know where the water was coming from. They were pumping it out, but it just kept filling back up.

“It must have been Christmas Eve because all his presents were in his flat and they were all floating around in the water. The guy was standing in the hallway of his house, just wearing a pair of boxers. Everything was soaking wet and his trousers were drying out on the stairs.”

Tim and the other volunteers found the man with a change of clothes while the fire brigade attended to his home.  

Tim continued: “He was still a bit cold, so my colleague took him for a walk around Bath. Just to warm him up. 

“The fire brigade had to go out on another call, so we stayed on. We went out and got some wellies from the man’s work and went into the house to retrieve as much as we could that wasn’t damaged by the flood. 

“Afterwards, we made sure he had somewhere to stay and then dropped him round at a friend’s house. It was Christmas, so it felt like the least we could do.”

“I’ve been sent to shouts on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. I’ve seen people affected by fires, flooding and all manner of things. 

“It’s heart-breaking to see over Christmas because it’s a time when people want to be at home with their friends and family.”

The charity and its volunteers, who have been deployed almost 3000 times so far in 2019, respond to an emergency in the UK approximately every four hours, which can include flooding, human-trafficking, house fires and more. Volunteers can carry out first aid, run rest centres and provide safe spaces where they offer emotional and practical support.

Nana Crawford, Social Media Manager, British Red Cross said: “We wanted to spread a little bit of festive cheer and we hope people like the ‘Tet-Tree’ we’ve created.

Our volunteers are incredibly dedicated and we hope the Tree will remind people of the fantastic and selfless work that they carry out whilst many of us are enjoying our Christmas dinners!” 

For further information: 


Festive twist on the Tetris Challenge