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Toast hung from trees as wassail is held in Stamford Community Orchard





Wassailers sang and hung cider-dipped toast from trees to encourage a bumper fruit harvest.

The traditional festival at Stamford Community Orchard on Saturday evening was attended by about 160 people, including plenty of children.

They helped bang pots and pans to ‘drive away evil spirits’ and hung toast from each of the orchard’s trees to attract robins.

Dan Exton with two-year-old Maggie helping to hang toast to attract robins. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Dan Exton with two-year-old Maggie helping to hang toast to attract robins. Photo: Chris Lowndes

The idea is that the birds eat the toast and then do their bit to fertilise the ground around the roots.

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Nigel Baylem, spokesperson for the Stamford Community Orchard Group, said they were pleased to have attracted so many people, adding: “I thought the orchard looked enchanting for the event, with lanterns hanging in the trees.

“We had a storyteller, the Woven Chords choir, and Rutland Morris performed a few turns.

Six-year-olds Grace Holland and Teddy Heard have cider-dipped toast ready to hang from the branches. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Six-year-olds Grace Holland and Teddy Heard have cider-dipped toast ready to hang from the branches. Photo: Chris Lowndes

“There was mulled apple juice and cider, as well as cider for sale and teas and coffees, so everyone could stay warm.”

Wassail queen Robina Hill was also there supporting the call for a good apple harvest this autumn, and a collection was held.

The group often fundraises for the community orchard, which is located at the end of Christ Church Close in Stamford.

Its next event is a Blossom Day on Sunday, May 5, when people will be able to come along to the community orchard and - weather permitting - bring a picnic. Apple juice and cider will be available.

Crispin Heeson and Keith Neville. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Crispin Heeson and Keith Neville. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Rutland Morris played music to accompany their dancers. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Rutland Morris played music to accompany their dancers. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Traditional storyteller Mark Fraser. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Traditional storyteller Mark Fraser. Photo: Chris Lowndes
A good crowd turned up to sing. Photo: Chris Lowndes
A good crowd turned up to sing. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Wassail queen Robina Hill, left, and Annie Hall, secretary of the Stamford Community Orchard Group. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Wassail queen Robina Hill, left, and Annie Hall, secretary of the Stamford Community Orchard Group. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Rutland Morris performed traditional dances. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Rutland Morris performed traditional dances. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Wassailing queen Robina Hill. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Wassailing queen Robina Hill. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Rutland Morris entertained. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Rutland Morris entertained. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Kate Vickers with son, Leo, 12, supporting Stamford Community Orchard Group. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Kate Vickers with son, Leo, 12, supporting Stamford Community Orchard Group. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Rutland Morris dancers put on a colourful display against the dark sky. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Rutland Morris dancers put on a colourful display against the dark sky. Photo: Chris Lowndes

On Saturday, January 20, at 4.30pm, a wassailing event will be held at the Bourne Community Orchard, off Beech Avenue. Bourne Borderers will be dancing and playing and there will be warm drinks and cake.

Visitors who want to attend should bring something to make a noise with, a mug for a drink, a torch, and warm up warmly with waterproof footwear after all the rain.



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