MOMENTUM is gathering to spruce up a community park in Steeple Ashton after an apple tree, that originated in the village more than 100 years ago, was planted there by some enthusiastic locals.

Members of the parish council, the Acreshort Community Park group and residents helped plant a Mary Barnett apple tree, a species of dessert apple, at the park, off Acreshort Lane, to kick start plans to turn it into a popular village attraction.

84-year-old Margaret Kyte, the granddaughter of Mary Barnett who planted the tree by breeding species together, was also present at the ceremony and she welcomed this idea.

“It is a very nice memory to Margaret Kyte to have a tree, that she propagated, in this park that is part of an exciting project,” she said.

“Her apples were allegedly grown from pips on her wedding day and the tree came from this village. Now it will be there for everyone to see.”

This was all made possible thanks to local resident Penny Aeberhard being given the tree by a friend in Bratton, who had been growing it in their orchard for several years.

“Penny decided that the village should have a Mary Barnett apple tree in the village and she was given a small cutting that was nurtured for seven years,” said Mr Aeberhard.

“It was good that Margaret came along and also Mary Barnett’s great granddaughter, Sandra Stevens, came for the ceremony too.”

Chairman of the Acreshort Community Park group, Pippa Birch, said: “This is a great way to kick off our plans to develop this area into a community park.

“We are looking to add in play equipment, adult fitness equipment, a nature trail and have more trees and plants here. We have secured funding so it is full steam ahead.”