Cutting the ribbon at new Mereside orchard

The people of Mereside have celebrated the grand opening of their very own peaceful haven.

Local children and councillors cut the ribbon at Mereside Community Orchard on Bowness Avenue on Saturday.

Opening of the Mereside Community Orchard.  L-R are coun Luke Taylor, Sarah Threllfall, Cath Powell and coun Adrian Hutton.

Opening of the Mereside Community Orchard. L-R are coun Luke Taylor, Sarah Threllfall, Cath Powell and coun Adrian Hutton.

The orchard, which was funded by Blackpool Council, is the brainchild of the community group Mereside and Friends in Action (MAFIA), which formed in November.

Sarah Threlfall, chairman of MAFIA, said: “It’s to do things for older children on the estate and just to improve the estate as a whole.

“We planted 68 fruit trees. We’ve got apples, pears, plums, damsons.

“We have asked families if they would like to name the trees. Some of them are named after people who are not with us any more.

We have still got a long way to go

“It’s been well-received by everyone. You can’t believe we have got something so peaceful and serene in the middle of a housing estate.”

The grand opening event saw youngsters enjoy face painting, sand art and a bouncy castle, while adults browsed stalls and listened to songs from the Mereside Community Gospel Choir.

Sarah said: “All the money that we raised is going towards the special care baby unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital as thanks for their hard work.

“This is just the start. We have got so many plans for our area. We’re hoping to turn the old bowling green into a friendship garden.

“We have still got a long way to go.”