Cottingley celebrates its first Apple Day

Over 80 Cottingley Hall estate residents turned out in force on Saturday to celebrate Apple Day, the first community event in their orchards, which they planted in February 2016.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Gerry Harper, officially opened the Apple Day celebrations and joined in the festivities.

The fun traditional Apple Day activities included games for adults and children including apple bobbing, the longest peel competition, and biting apples on a string.

People were able to make toffee apples and try their hand at making fresh apple juice.  Feet were put to good use on two bicycle driven blenders which were peddled to create fruit smoothies.

For the less energetic, apple produce was available from the jam and chutney stall.

Neil Whiting of Cottingley in Bloom said: “Our Apple day celebrations were exceptional with over 80 people turning up on the day.  They were most impressed by the apple pressing.

“It’s great to see people enjoying the orchards.  They’ve created a lot of interest since we planted them.  We’ve got quite a few volunteers checking on the trees to make sure they’re alright and help pick the apples, which all need to be removed in their first year.

“We were also delighted by the feedback from the Yorkshire in Bloom judges this year who said the orchards were thriving.  We got two places higher than we did the previous year which is very encouraging.  Our next project is to under-plant the trees with fruit bushes.”

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Gerry Harper, said: “It was a real privilege to open Apple Day in Cottingley and see so many local people come together in the orchard to have fun and take part in all the fantastic activities on offer.

“Helping Britain Blossom is a great example of a community initiative which through its tremendous work has brought together residents, community groups and organisations to provide a healthy outdoor activity for people of all ages

“I want to congratulate everyone who has played their part in making this project and events like Apple Day such a success. I look forward to seeing this project grow and move from strength-to-strength in the future.”

Alan Thornton, Leeds project manager for Helping Britain Blossom, which is providing support to Cottingley volunteers, said: “The Cottingley community have really got behind their orchards.  Apple Day is a perfect example of how an orchard can bring a community together including people of all ages and all backgrounds. The celebrations are fun and involve making and consuming apple products and doing something physical.   In short it’s the benefits of orcharding in one event. Great fun and enjoyed by all!”

Cottingley resident, Emma Belt-Brown said: “I think the orchard is amazing for the whole community. The people of Cottingley are really going to benefit from having an orchard on the estate.

“The children are going to have fresh fruit available to them and the activities are going to be endless for them. It’s something the whole family can get involved in. It’s going to help toward healthy eating and will also help those less fortunate have access to fresh daily fruit.  And where more convenient than an orchard on your own doorstep?”