It sounded such a simple idea - a Christmas Tree to light up that dark stretch of open space opposite Sandstone Road. The vision of families gathered round the glittering tree singing in festive harmony was irresistible. Community First funding was just a bid away, and the North East Community Assembly were encouraging, but securing the funding - as always - is just the start.
So - what do you need for a community Christmas Tree? A tree, lights, and electricity. And a lot of energy, faith and good humour to bring it all together.
I have learned that a hole can be just too big for a tree and seen how small and lonely a baby Cedar looks on the back of a lorry.
I have seen how the SWEEP team anchored the tree down so that hopefully, it won't blow over in the gales. It is tightly wired in, using that magic Sheffield invention: The Gripple. The cavity has been packed with yummy compost and the soil packed tightly back in. A plastic conduit takes the cable from power source to the tree. At least that's the plan.
I feel I have now met most of the Amey team who now look after our street lights. I have discovered that there is more than one way to dig a trench, and several directions in which it can be dug. I can see that sometimes things just don't go according to plan and I have perfected that deep intake of breath and shake of the head that can only be accomplished when wearing a high vis jacket.
Friends brought home made decorations to dress the tree and soon it was sparkling with silver tinsel and gold foil. The nearby trees which had already lost their leaves were festooned with ribbon and the tiny flickering battery candle lamps which had lit up the woodlands for the lantern pageant were hung in the bare branches to add to the magic.
There is a bit of remedial work to be done now and a few more phone calls to be made. But now, when I see the Christmas lights across the city, I will think of all the people who have done their bit to make the lights shine and I will say a silent thank you to all, for brightening up the long dark winter nights. Penny.