This Saturday we celebrated our ninth annual Apple Day, with over three-hundred guests joining us at St Laurence Orchard in Southend. We have been managing St Laurence Orchard on behalf of Southend Borough Council since 2005, and we are thrilled to have been awarded a twenty-five-year lease on the Orchard and the adjacent land too. The lease was presented at Apple Day by the Mayor and Mayoress of Southend.
St Laurence Orchard is home to over twenty-five varieties of apple tree, including the D’Arcy Spice, a traditional apple variety originating from near Colchester, and each year we open our gates to local families to enjoy apple picking, juicing and refreshments. Guests enjoyed a tour of the orchard and children’s stories in the glade, as well as browsing the stalls.
Chief Executive Matt King was
overwhelmed with the support and community spirit on the day. "Apple Day is a
wonderful time to bring our local community together”, he said. "We are so
grateful to all of our guests, volunteers, members, and stall holders that made
the day such a success – raising almost £1,000 to help with our ongoing work.”
The event was supported by the South East Essex Conservation Volunteers who work hard to develop areas of the Orchard during the year, and the South East Essex Organic Gardeners were on hand to display, chop and juice the apples for families to enjoy. The Southend Dormouse Group came along to educate guests about the conservation work taking place in and around Southend to protect the Hazel Dormouse, an endangered species that is native to England and Wales. The Red Hot Stitchers, a weekly craft group, which meets at Sew Creative studios, prepared over 60 bags made from old curtains and bedding for the event, contributing £200 to the total raised.
We are already planning centenary celebrations for next year as the Orchard. We’re thrilled to have secured planning permission for an outdoor classroom, storage, and composting toilets too. If you would like to support Trust Links as we develop this historic site, you can text APPLE to 70085 to donate £3 or contact us on 01702 213134 for more information.