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Archive for the ‘Community orchards’ Category

Thursday Jan 12th

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Orchard Care Day

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David Beetham

We are very sad to report the death of David Beetham, Treasurer of the Friends of the Fallowfield Loop, and former Honorary Secretary and Chair, on Monday 4 July. David was a long-standing member of the Friends and a great driving force in his many years on the Committee, with many contributions as an officer and excellent understanding of grant applications. However, it was his initiatives in the funding, planting and maintenance of our community orchards in Levenshulme, Debdale, and Fallowfield which will be remembered as his outstanding contribution. In fact his last project with us was planting the Chervil orchard in Fallowfield, which we completed only in the last couple of months.

David Beetham


David had a very distinguished career as a Professor of Politics at Leeds University, published several books on political systems and was still in demand as a consultant on democracy in developing countries. He served as a local Labour party councillor in Manchester in his time and latterly was a member of the Green Party.
David will be greatly missed by the Friends. We will publish details of any funeral or memorial service arrangements when they are available.

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Earth Granny

Earth Granny

Around 100 people congregated just before sunset at the Quadrants in Levenshulme for this year’s wassail on Sunday 6th January.  After wassails in earlier years, then a break in 2018, the Friends decided to celebrate the orchard trees once again. New this year was the Earth Granny, in her pinny, declaiming “Wassail Wassail” – chanting her poem to bless the trees, their roots and the worms. Old Father Time made his usual appearance and the Choir with No Name sang three songs, wonderfully.

Attendees were offered cakes, mulled cider and apple juice, provided by Pam and Angelique and other helpers.  Brenda lent her gazebo and reusable cups. People brought food to share.  We made a ceremonial tour of the orchard to hang toast dipped in cider on the trees to ward off evil spirits and ensure good cropping; and the occasion was completed with a roaring bonfire looked after by Ian and Farooq.  A short firework display brought a sparkling end to proceedings!

Thanks to everyone from the local community who attended and contributed to the lively spirit of the event!

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Yesterday some of the Friends were out working in and around the community orchard at the Levenshulme Quadrants.  We were joined by members of the Sale and Altrincham Conservation Volunteers to help with building two willow arches, using willow harvested from the Loop.  Some weeding and general maintenance around the orchard trees was also done.  Meanwhile, Incredible Edible Levenshulme were also out, working on their raised beds of herbs and fruit.  Many thanks to all helpers!

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Another winter, another wassail today to celebrate the orchard at the Levenshulme Quadrants and wish it a healthy and flourishing year ahead!  As in the previous several years, there was a bonfire, choir-led singing, fireworks, mulled cider, the fixing of ribbons and cider-soaked toast to the fruit trees and the conjuring of a Wassail Queen!

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At dusk on Old Tweflth Night, Sunday 17th January 2016, a hardy band turned out to celebrate our annual wassail of the community orchard at the Quadrants, Levenshulme (Crayfield Road).  This was a postponed and scaled-down version of the originally planned event (due to very heavy rain on the initial date of Sunday 3rd January), but nevertheless there was mulled cider, home-made apple cake, a procession round the orchard fixing cider-soaked toast (lucky birds) and ribbons to the fruit trees, and a firework finale!  With added cheery involvement from several passers-by, we hope to have set the orchard fair for continued flourishing through 2016!

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Today members of the Friends were out with the Sale and Altrincham Conservation Volunteers (SACV) to do preparatory work for another in the series of community orchards along the Loop.  Given recent weather, it was very pleasing to find we had a still day and wonderful sunshine for the task!  Today’s aim was to prepare the site for the planting of the trees in four weeks’ time, in particular to get the planting holes ready and use compost and topsoil to improve conditions (given the site’s past as the route of the railway) for the new trees.

If anyone would like to come back to join in with the planting on Sunday 16th March, all volunteers will be welcome!

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Today members of the Friends, together with the Sale and Altrincham Conservation Volunteers, worked on the site of the new community orchard in Fallowfield, close to the Sherwood Street entrance to the Loop.  The work continued from preparatory activities carried out in December: today the planting holes were dug and prepared with compost, and the planting of the orchard will take place in four weeks’ time, on Sunday 17th March.  In addition to the orchard work, preparation for a new boundary hedge on the corner of Sherwood Street and Wellington Road was carried out.  As the pictures show, it was a perfect sunny spring day to be out enhancing the Loop!

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On Wednesday 12th December 2012 several of the Friends attended the North West Empowerment Awards ceremony.  These awards were open to community or voluntary groups that have delivered a project regarded as having made a positive difference in their community.  The Friends had been one of four shortlisted from 33 applicants in the “Better neighbourhoods” category, and although we did not win the prize we received a “highly commended” plaque for working with the Levenshulme groups on the community orchard!

North West Empowerment Awards – with thanks to North West Together We Can and Asian Lite Photographers Ian O’Brien and Stuart Rayson for the picture

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