Sunderland community orchard replanted after vandals destroyed residents' work in Bonfire Night attack

A community orchard in Sunderland has been replanted after 23 trees were torn out of the ground in an alleged attack on Bonfire Night .

Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 8:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th November 2021, 2:25 pm
Pupils got involved in helping replant the community orchard.

Work to replant a community orchard in Southwick is underway less than two weeks after it was destroyed by vandals on Bonfire Night, November 5.

The land in Cato Street, Southwick, Sunderland, which has not been used for more than 20 years, was brought to life by the community as part of Southwick Altogether Raising Aspirations (SARA), just days before the attack.

Some 23 newly planted apple, pear and cherry trees, which had been planted by residents with the help of volunteers from Esh Construction and the Princes Trust, were torn out of the ground in Cato Street and stacked up ready to be set alight.

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Firefighters from Marley Park Community Fire Station were on hand to help pupils from Southwick Primary School.

The community orchard was the idea of local schoolchildren following extensive consultation with the community about what they would like to see on the land in Cato Street site

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These along with four replacement trees have now been replanted by volunteers from the SARA Project and four flowering cherry trees have also been planted in the memory garden which is being developed on the site.

Pupils from Southwick Primary School and firefighters from Marley Park Community Fire Station help to replant the SARA community orchard at Cato Street, Southwick, Sunderland.

Southwick councillor and SARA representative, Councillor Alex Samuels said: “We were devastated by the attack especially after all the hard work our residents and volunteers had put into planning the orchard and planting it up.

"But we've been overwhelmed by the support we've had from residents and the way they've rallied round to help replant the trees.

"It's wonderful to see the trees back in place and I'm really looking forward to seeing the community orchard bloom and flourish over the coming years.”

Station Manager Shaun Makin, of Marley Park Community Fire Station, added: “I’m glad our crews were able help save the trees and replant them today as part of this community orchard.

“It was such a shame that the incident took place especially as all of those trees were newly planted.

“We’ve been working so closely with the SARA project and its partners to help reduce ASB in the local area and it’s been working as we’ve seen a reduction in deliberate fire setting.”

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