Everyone is invited to celebrate the fruits of the Hale community orchard on Apple Day this Sunday at St Mark’s Church in Alma Lane, Hale.

Everyone is encouraged to take their apples from 10am and put them in the apple press for freshly-pressed apple juice. There will be apple songs and apple snacks, all followed by a celebratory harvest festival service in the church and a collection for Farnham Foodbank.

Rev Stella Wiseman, a priest in the parish, explained how the day has come about.

She said: “Back in 2014 we planted fruit trees next to St Mark’s to create a community orchard, with each tree being adopted by a different community group.

"Our first Apple Day was in 2015 because we were so pleased that our trees were bearing fruit that we decided to celebrate! Since then, we have celebrated every year apart from during the Covid pandemic by having apple snacks, apple-themed music and apple pressing.

"It is a great atmosphere with children and adults pressing the apples, drinking the juice, eating and listening to the music and chatting. Then we move on to harvest festival in the church and a collection of food for Farnham Foodbank.

“The day also complements one of the themes of the Kitty Milroy murals in the church. These murals, painted by local artist Kitty Milroy in the early 20th century, depict natural scenes including apple trees, as well as people representing seasons and the elements, and are in an Arts and Crafts Movement style similar to work seen at the Watts Chapel in Compton.

"The murals are now recognised as being of national importance.”

Anyone who wants their apples turned into juice is asked to bring apples that are in good condition, picked from the tree and washed, along with clean, two-litre plastic milk cartons, including the lid, to put the juice in. 

The Foodbank is currently in need of tinned fruit, UHT puddings, tinned meat and chocolate treats. These can be presented at the altar at St Mark’s during the harvest festival service and will then be passed on to the Foodbank.