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A pressing engagement for village's apple day
10:00am Friday 25th October 2013 in News
A LONG-AWAITED apple press was welcomed to Abbotts Ann village, with a day dedicated to the fruit.
MP Sir George Young inaugurated the new village press during Abbotts Ann’s Apple Day on Sunday, 20 October.
The structure of the press doubles as a children’s swing in the new playground in the grounds of the War Memorial Hall.
Rosemary Griffiths, of the village, said: “The apple day was very well supported by villagers, adults and children, many of whom brought their own apples for pressing, and all enjoyed the different varieties of apple products – cakes, flapjacks, puddings and so on – that volunteers had brought for general refreshments.
“There were games and competitions connected with apples, such as apple-bobbing, and cutting the longest strip of peel.
“The product of the afternoon’s pressing was taken home by many in as many containers as could be found.”
She added: “We hope that many happy hours will now be spent by the children of the village in their new play area, and by all villagers in enjoying the products of their annual fruit harvest.”
The project was born 25 years ago when Bernard Griffiths, chairman of Abbotts Ann Parish Council, came across an advertisement in the Andover Advertiser for a cider press, which was free to collect.
It was buried under a hedge in the garden of Bob Weedon, in Smannell, and turned out to be too big for Bernard’s mother’s car.
It had to be left until a few years later when the press was eventually recovered in 2011.
It took three friends, a large trolley, a Land Rover and trailer to bring it back to Abbotts Ann.
The cider press comprised all the metal parts, including the screw column and press plate, but no woodwork.
Following a visit to Barry Topp’s Cider Works open day, in Burley, New Forest, Bernard found a postcard, with a picture showing a similar press in the reserve collection of the Science Museum at Wroughton.
A small group of villagers visited the press to see how their own could be reconstructed.
And when the parish council began discussing renewing the children’s play area, local craftsman Adam Rose and Bernard came up with the idea of combining the frame of a swing as the frame for an apple press.
Rosemary said: “The result is a magnificent, robust new swing for babies and toddlers, designed and built in solid oak by Adam Rose, and also the muchanticipated restored apple press for the village.”
Sir George said: “This has been a fantastic year for apples, and folk are at a loss what to do with the ones left over after, they have stored what they need. Many brought their surpluses along to have them pressed, and took away the juice – either to freeze it, or to turn it into cider.
“A local pig farmer can use the residual pulp, so nothing is wasted.”
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