More than 1,000 enjoy the great outdoors at ‘biggest and best’ Goodmayes Allotment Garden Festival

Home-made cakes on sale.

Home-made cakes on sale. - Credit: Archant

More than 1,000 people soaked up the sunshine at the “biggest and best ever” Allotment Garden Festival in Goodmayes on Sunday.

Home-made cakes on sale.

Home-made cakes on sale. - Credit: Archant

The seventh annual event, run by the Seven Kings and Goodmayes Allotment Society, aimed to introduce Redbridge residents to the outdoor delights lurking even in the most urban areas.

Home-made cakes on sale.

Home-made cakes on sale. - Credit: Archant

The Goodmayes Allotments, in Goodmayes Lane, hosted charity stalls, fresh produce, live music, games and entertainment.

Society member Sue Cunningham estimated that around 1,200 people, including Ilford South MP Mike Gapes, visited the festival.

She said: “I think it was our biggest and best so far. It thrills us that so many people came to support us and see what being green in Redbridge is all about.

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“I would like to say a great thank you to all the people who helped with stalls.

“It meant so much that people who don’t even have allotments came to help.”

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The event showcased fresh local produce, including fruit, vegetables, honey, jam and homemade cakes.

Young students from Redbridge College, Barley Lane, Little Heath, showed how to create four delicious menus using only what was growing at the college’s plot.

Volunteers from the Growing Communities Starter Farm introduced visitors to the delights of growing their own and new members signed up to the Organic Ilford project, which aims to start a food co-operative.

Founder Toni Dipple and volunteers sold chemical-free fruit and vegetables from the Lambourne End Outdoor Centre in Hainault.

She said: “The festival was stunning. Apart from the weather there were such a lot of people from all backgrounds coming together.

“There was the most wonderful atmosphere.”

Traditional countryside crafts including hedge laying, wood turning and corn grinding were on show and conservation groups came from across London and Essex.

The Essex Badger Group raised awareness of the ongoing cull and charities represented bats, foxes and the humble hedgehog.

Visitors who got tired of standing could take a short ride on a miniature steam engine and many relaxed to enjoy music from the Storm In A Teacup folk band and Eastbury Concert Band, and performances by the Upstreet Morris Dancers.

The event was partly funded by Redbridge Council’s area five committee.

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