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Ilkley Firefighters welcome the community for new orchard planting


Planting of the Ilkley Fire Station Community Orchard

Over 75 community volunteers have been welcomed to the inaugural planting of Ilkley Fire Station Community Orchard.


The initiative aims to make beautiful Ilkley an even greener place to live, 28 fruit trees were planted by firefighters, families, sponsors and supporters.


Retained firefighter Ed Poulter who is the orchard lead said "At Ilkley Fire station we have a piece of land about the size of a football pitch, its always been on my mind that this could be put to a much better use as an edible space especially with the recent hike in food prices. A space that can benefit the community, local schools and businesses. Where people can learn more about where their food comes from, how nature can benefit the environment and at the same time find learn more about the role of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and the important work we do in making West Yorkshire a safer place.  


"The orchard is really more than just a collection of trees; its raises the profile of Ilkley Fire Station, it provides fruit for the community and local foodbanks and provides an additional green space for everyone to enjoy."  



Watch Manager Lee Mitchell added "I’ve been absolutely amazed at how the momentum behind the orchard has grown and gone from strength to strength. We fundraised through a crowd funding site back in the summer and within a week we had already smashed our initial target so I knew from the start the orchard was going to be a huge success.


"We planted the orchard last weekend with over 75 people attending – there was a real positive ‘vibe’ about the day. Members of the community getting the opportunity to plant a tree and see it grow over their lifetime. Everyone had the opportunity to have a look at the fire engine too, learn more about our role, fire safety and how to stay safe.


"A big thanks again to everyone who has pledged - Spooners Industries and Pendle Sportswear Ltd who pledged significant amounts, Moss & Moor for their help in sourcing the trees, The Northern Fruit Group for their expertise, Climate Action Ilkley  for their help and enthusiasm and everyone else who has helped us."


Ilkley Fire Station has teamed up with Climate Action Ilkley who oversee the other two orchards in Ilkley to help oversee their maintenance and success going forward.


Ruth McBain Orchard Lead at Climate Action Ilkley said "I've helped with the Climate Action Ilkley community orchards since before they were first planted in March 2020 and it's always a great pleasure to help bring the community together for our working days. Ilkley Fire Station had already developed a great vision for their orchard, so we've just helped them on their journey, shared our experiences and visited the Northern Fruit Group's training orchard with them. Collaboration and sharing is what it's all about!"



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