A FESTIVAL celebrating the health benefits of citrus has been created by a man who makes his own range of herbal medicines using the fruit.

Natty Mark Samuels, who is also the founder of Oxford’s African School, is set to launch the first Oxford Citrus Festival next month.

The events will take place across four days in community centres and cafes in the city and feature food, music and workshops by Mr Samuels to teach people all about the nutritional boost that using oranges, lemons and other types of citrus fruits can provide.

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The 57-year-old said: “It is so affordable and accessible for people when they go into their corner shop or supermarket so I want to let people know about what is available on their own doorstep.

“It’s well known that citrus has Vitamin C which helps the immune system but it also has lots of potassium, it helps the heart – there are so many extra benefits."

Mr Samuels, who lives in Blackbird Leys, said he was inspired to extol the virtues of citrus after training for a level 3 diploma in herbal medicine in late 2018.

From there he went on to develop his own range of herbal medicines last year.

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The range of products include oils infused with ingredients including grapefruit, lemon, orange, lime and rosemary.

He decided to specialise in citrus products, which he sources from local supermarkets and the Oxford Food Bank.

Now he is ready to share his passion for the fruit at a festival he said he hopes will become an annual tradition.

He said: "Everything we have a citrus twist to it from the food to face painting and my workshops. I want this to be something that is really accessible for people."

Donnington Community Centre, Barracks Lane Community Garden, Communi-tea Cafe, Holy Family Church in Blackbird Leys and Viny’s Cafe will all host events.

The Donnington and Barracks Lane events will be all day, on April 4 and 5 respectively.

The first will feature music from Tony Dread Hi Fi and run from 2pm until 10pm.

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The second from 1pm until 7pm with music this time from Cornerstone. The final two festival events will be on April 6 and 7.

Oxford Food Bank will be having a stall of citrus drinks at all four events. Mr Samuels said: “The food bank has been so supportive as soon as I got in touch they replied straight away that they would help.”

The festival is a continuation of Mr Samuels passion for sharing knowledge. He set up the African school in 2009 because of the lack of knowledge about the continent among people in Oxford and elsewhere.

The school has introduced hundreds of people to black and Afro-Caribbean history.

To find out more about the festival or Mr Samuels’ other work visit africanschool.weebly.com/.