25 April, 2009
As the National Trust announced that 60% of England’s traditional orchards have disappeared since the 1950s, Manchester school children are set to learn about the importance of orchard fruits to our health, environment and economy.
As part of the bicentenary celebrations for the humble Bramley apple, the city has been honoured with a rare visit from one of London’s traditional Livery companies. The Master of the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers, founded in 1463 as one of the 30 original trade guilds to support the fruit industry, marked the 200th birthday of one of the country’s favourite fruits by presenting a number of Manchester inner-city schools with three Bramley apple trees.
The trees were planted at Manchester Academy, Salford Academy, and William Hulme Grammar School. The Worshipful Company of Fruiterers has also created a teaching curriculum to enable children at the schools to learn first-hand how the trees develop and the fruit is produced.
It is thought to be the first time in living memory that one of Masters of the traditional Livery companies has formally been to Manchester and is recognition of the strides the City Region has made to be a leading European business location, with a complementary offer to the Capital.
In a recent announcement, The National Trust detailed how fruit production has fallen dramatically in the UK as a result of small producers developing or changing the use of the land. As a result, many rare varieties of fruit and other wildlife – some unique to localities – are under threat as a result of the decline in orchards.
Alan French, Master of the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers, said: “One of our Liveryman, Carlos Kearns, has developed strong ties here in Manchester and I readily agreed that the positive impact on children in London schools should be shared with schoolchildren in England’s second city. I am thrilled to be visiting the city for the first time as Master. This region has a fine tradition as a centre for agriculture, and will continue to play a crucial role in the country’s economic revival over the coming years.
“By creating a pack that teachers can use to illustrate the trees’ growth, pupils will learn about the nurturing and care involved in growing a healthy plant – and how the fruit is produced. Young people, especially within inner-city schools, are not usually able to access this sort of important understanding, so we are very pleased these schools have agreed to support us in this project.”
Colin Sinclair Chief Executive of MIDAS, Manchester’s Investment and Development Agency, said: “MIDAS has done much in recent years to forge links with the City of London and the Liveries have proved to be good friends, providing us with the opportunity to meet key players in global commerce. It is an honour that The Fruiterers Livery has chosen Manchester and Salford’s School Academies for this programme, giving young people who live in the inner city a better understanding of the importance of diet and where our fruit and vegetables come from.”