Apples for ambulances as Branscombe pies raise �200

A decades-old tradition is being kept alive in Branscombe and raising money for charity as Branscombe’s annual ‘Apple Pie Day’ took place.

With the help of a dedicated group of ladies and the support of the village almost �200 will be donated to the Devon Air Ambulance Trust, and one elderly resident received a surprise meal.

Rosemary Pavey, who helps organise the event, said she wanted to organise a community get-together but didn’t want to have the usual coffee morning, so decided to help revive an old village tradition which was to serve the residents of Branscombe apple pie, a local speciality.

Starting around a decade ago, she now, along with Marie Dowell, Brenda Woodley, Mary Wilcox, Eileen Avery (all pictured) and others, puts on a soup and apple pie lunch in the village hall.

And this year Rosemary revived a particular part of the traditional September day, which is that the vicar and the oldest person in the village get served the first piece of pie.

She had read about it in the village history accounts, so she organised a pie, a jug of custard and a jug of soup to be taken to Mrs Wotton, believed to be Branscombe’s most elderly villager.

And as Reverend Nigel Freathy was unable to attend, his wife Annette was also allowed given some pie ahead of the other 40 or so attendees at the fundraiser.

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The money raised by this year’s event, �196 and up on last year, will be donated to the appeal to purchase a new air ambulance, as Rosemary explained it will provide is a vital service to the rural community.

Rosemary said she had plenty of help cooking the 16 pies they served to the mix of local people and visitors to Branscombe last Friday, and was pleased with the day.

The tradition was apparently begun by the Royal British Legion to raise money in the village around apple harvest time from Branscombe’s orchards and although briefly revived in the 1980’s it had not been a regular event since Rosemary and the other women’s intervention saw it return to the village hall calendar as an annual occasion.

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