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Community orchard's first anniversary celebrated with 'old English tradition'

Will Taylor

Rain did very little to dampen the spirits of parish councillors who organised a get-together for the first anniversary of a community orchard's planting on Sunday.

It soaked the Blind Lane Recreation Ground in Bourne End, where the trees are growing, creating a muddy, slippery surface and forcing the attendees under canopies as they sought shelter.

The Wooburn and Bourne End Parish Council put on a 'wassailing' to bring the community together.

"It is an old English tradition," said Cllr Katie Lamb, who chairs the Open Spaces committee and was speaking on the day.

"It is a nice thing to do," she said. "It is such a shame it is raining."

The wassiling events included toast being hung from the boughs of apple trees in a ritual that was believed to help the tree bear fruit.

To help with the traditional element to the day, the Ellington Morris Dancers put on a show.

A bar was set up, and the Rebellion Brewery, based in Marlow, donated its monthly special ale.

Proceeds from the day will be split between the 1st Wooburn Scout Group and Maidenhead Mencap.

The orchard is expected to bear a 'decent' amount of fruit next year, according to Cllr Lamb, which anyone will be able to pick.

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