Seven from Seven Festive Edition: Christmas Tree Lights Up A Village, And Christmas Lights In Rome Are Pedal-Powered

23rd December 2022

Usually, we scour the worlds of innovation, tech for good and social impact to bring you seven of our top stories… but this week, we’re bringing you seven festive stories …

  1. The text message is celebrating its 30th birthday! The first text was sent to a mobile phone by a Vodafone engineer in Berkshire in the UK on 3 December 1992. It was sent in order to test out the tech, and read “Merry Christmas”. Since then, it’s safe to say a fair few have been sent, with 40 billion in 2021 alone.
  2. People in Rome have been pedal-powering their main-square Christmas tree, using six bikes which are connected to a power generator. As people pedal, their kinetic energy from their movement is changed into electricity to turn on the lights.
  3. A group of four British women recently arrived on a remote Antarctic island to look after its population of passing tourists and penguins, and prepare for Christmas. Once a British military base and research station, Port Lockroy – which is 911 miles south of the Falkland Islands – nowadays consists of just a post office, a museum and a gift shop. However, despite this the women will keep an eye on the island’s population of around 1,000 gentoo penguins, and mail postcards sent by visiting tourists from countries all around the world, just like Father Christmas’ elves!
  4. Residents of Britain’s ‘real-life Quality Street’ have adorned their homes with huge sweet decorations to raise foodbank donations for those in need this Christmas. At least 24 generous residents of Boyce and Bransby Street in Sheffield have decked their terraced homes with giant replicas from the iconic chocolate box brand. After Yorkshire sweet brand Quality Street sent Kayleigh, a member of the village, a free one-tonne pile of chocolate, she began exchanging them with locals for foodbank donations. Kayleigh believes they’ve turned their ‘quality street’ into a ‘quality community’.
  5. This year’s route for RC Baker’s Christmas Tractor Run in Oxfordshire was extended to include Banbury for the first time. The festive fleet of tractors also travelled through Bodicote, Adderbury, Aynho, Clifton, Deddington, Hempton, Barford St Michael, Barford St John, South Newington, Milcombe and Bloxham. The event, first held in 2017, has raised more than £69,000 for Katharine House Hospice in Banbury to date.
  6. A pine tree planted in 1978, known as ‘The Little Tree That Could’, has grown to more than 50-feet and provides a majestic light to Inkberrow in Worcestershire. Avril and Christopher Rowlands bought the tree for just £6 at a garden centre after moving into their home. They then planted the 6-foot tree in the front garden, which has thrived ever since. Forty-three years later, it towers over the village of Inkberrow, lighting up the horizon of the village which otherwise has no street lighting. So influential is ‘The Little Tree That Could’, Avril and Christopher’s energy company donates £100 to help them with their bills.
  7. The UK’s largest homeless charity, Crisis, aims to launch their biggest ‘Crisis at Christmas’, thanks to the help of London-based IT charity, The Aimar Foundation. Crisis at Christmas has been running since 1967. It is a special campaign where across nine sites in the UK, people experiencing homelessness can get much needed warmth, healthcare, food, company, and support services during the Christmas period. Making that happen is a complex logistical operation. With the support of The Aimar Foundation, which helps build technology infrastructure, Crisis will be helping as many homeless people as possible this Christmas.

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