Tree picking volunteer project bears fruit

Chris Blastock, left, and Mark Elliston of the Fruit Tree Project
Chris Blastock, left, and Mark Elliston of the Fruit Tree Project

VOLUNTEERS leading a community project to recycle local fruit are staging a harvest festival to celebrate their start-up success.

The Observer reported in June how Chris Blastock and Mark Elliston had launched a plan to save the fallen fruit of 1066 Country. Volunteers pick trees that would otherwise be untended, saving local apples from becoming waste.

And just two months on, the non-profit Fruit Tree Project has catalogued some 490 fruit trees across Sussex and Kent, with most clustered in and around Hastings and St Leonards.

Mr Blastock, 50, of Harold Road, coordinates the project. He has been overwhelmed by the positive response locally.

“Everybody we’ve spoken to thinks it’s a brilliant idea. So many people have come forward, we’re now looking to build a picture about what’s going on in the county.

“Further down the line we are thinking about bottling our own juice.”

To thank the twelve volunteers who have so far signed up to help the project bear fruit, Mr Blastock has organised a harvest festival party on September 24 at the Hastings and St Leonards Angling Association, Marine Parade.

All are welcome from 7pm till late at the club, where a fruit stall will hand out produce, and soul singer James Hunter will play a set.

Tickets, £10, will help fund the project. For information or to register your tree with their database, visit www.fruittreeproject.org or text 07758 371328.