WHEN this group of villagers say they're going 'up the apples and pears', they really mean it.

The volunteers of Sustainable Wheatley are this autumn using ladders, long sticks, baskets and bare hands to try to harvest their entire village.

For the third year in a row, the fruity foragers are on a mission to collect every single apple, pear, quince, plum and berry that would otherwise go to waste.

Some of it will be scoffed, but far more will be distributed to schools, nursing homes, care homes and even the Women's Institute, to be transformed into preserves and pies.

Tim Blightman, from the group, explained: "Fruit was starting to appear on trees around the village so we decided to repeat last year's activity when we harvested nearly half a ton of apples, pears and quinces that otherwise might have gone to waste, thanks to the help of volunteers – including pupils from the John Watson School.

"As well as distributing much of this to various organisations who could make good use of them, last year we also held our own apple pressing day outside The Merry Bells hall, where anyone could bring their own apples and have them turned into juice.

"This year we are holding the apple pressing day at The Merry Bells on Saturday, October 28, where, as last year, anyone is welcome to come and join in the pressing of apples – even if you don’t have your own apples."

Sustainable Wheatley started its village harvesting in 2015 when the volunteers picked 357kg of pears, apples and quinces from eight trees in just eight hours.

They distributed their harvest to community groups around the area, even giving some of their quinces to Raymond Blanc's famous Le Manoir restaurant in Great Milton.

They also managed to press a thirst-quenching 80 litres of apple juice.

The following year's harvest was even more successful, with some 500kg of fresh fruit being collected.

This year the group is hoping to top that total, and have called on anyone with a few hours spare this month or next to lend a hand.

They group has also asked anyone with a fruit tree that needs picking or with any spare screw-top wine bottles to get in touch.

Finally, Mr Blightman asked for any suggestions of where the fruit could be distributed to have maximum impact.

To find out more or offer your services – or fruit – email admin@wheatleycag.org or call phone 01865 873957

Find out more at sustainablewheatley.org