First traditional wassail
CRANFORD Park let residents enjoy the fruits of their labour with a first ever ‘Apple Day’. Around 80 people came together to take part in a traditional orchard ‘wassail’, organised by Hillingdon Green Spaces and Cranford Park Friends.
A hundred years ago or more, people would come on days out from London to go fruit picking in Harlington, and organisers wanted to create a coffee morning with a difference, bearing earlier customs in mind.
Tea, coffee and cakes were served in the park’s Secret Garden in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning on Saturday, October 17.
Bob Barton, Secretary of Cranford Park Friends thought the Apple Day was a “great success”.
He said: “We weren’t expecting so many as it was our first apple day but we had about 80 people turn up.
“A lot of people went to the orchard and we did the wassail with fiddle players who came from Sipson and Heathrow. We had great fun.
“We did the wassail chant around one of the trees, harvested the apples and toasted the trees with some cider, which is the traditional way of hoping for a good harvest.”
Wassailing is a traditional custom celebrating the apple harvest and was once believed to protect fruit trees from harm.
20 different varieties of apples from the orchard were on display and could be sampled, including London Pearmain and Broad Eyed Pippin apples.
Mr Barton added: “People enjoyed themselves and raised £260 for Macmillan Cancer support so we’re very pleased with that.
“We pressed a lot of apple juice from our fruit press, we couldn’t go without trying the juice!”
Visitors could bring their own apples to juice in the traditional press after enjoying a short guided Orchard Walk.
Macmillan Cancer was chosen as the charity to support as cancer patients from Hillingdon Hospital use the ‘secret garden’ to aid their recovery.
n SUCCESS: Alison Shipley and Bob Barton