Alresford Watercress Festival - news-1

Alresford Watercress Festival 2019

Over £4.8k Raised for Joe Glover Trust at The Alresford Watercress Festival

The Joe Glover Trust are delighted to announce that they raised nearly £5,000 in donations at this year’s Alresford Watercress Festival, held on Sunday 19 May.

The Winchester based charity, established in memory of 8 year old cancer sufferer, Joe Glover has been the official charity for the annual Watercress Festival for over 10 years.  Each year festival goers are encouraged to donate what they can spare in exchange for bags of fresh watercress, watercress smoothies or pesto.  Over the years well over £30k has been raised at this one event.  The charity helps children diagnosed with cancer to cope with the disease and all it throws at them while supporting their families as they deal with difficult times during treatment and sadly, for many, what may come after.

 

Jane Wilmshurst, Fundraising and Event Manager for the Joe Glover Trust said: “The final total at this year’s Festival was a massive £4828.14, which is absolutely fantastic.  The Watercress Festival is one of my favourite events to attend and we are incredibly grateful for the generosity of the people who come to Alresford for the day.  There’s always a great atmosphere and we’ve been lucky with the weather which adds to the happy mood.  We feel very honoured to have been the organisers’ official charity for so many years.”

Watercress is grown locally in Hampshire and Dorset.  Alresford is the location for the annual Festival celebrating the start of the UK watercress season because in Victorian times, when watercress was at is peak of popularity, Alresford was known as the ‘Capital of Watercress’ with its own railway line carrying tonnes of watercress up to London.

However, it’s not just because watercress is a local crop that partnering with the Joe Glover Trust seemed appropriate but there is a scientific reason too.  Over a decade ago medical research demonstrated that there is a clear link between watercress and the prevention of certain cancers.  A compound called phenylethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), which occurs in high levels in watercress, was shown to reduce the level of DNA damage which causes cancers and also increases the ability of cells to resist DNA damage.  More studies are underway to better understand the connection but one thing’s for sure, eating watercress can only do you good!

Watercress is one of the healthiest, if not THE healthiest vegetable you can eat – it’s packed full of over 50 vital vitamins and minerals and gram for gram contains more calcium than milk, more vitamin C than orange, more folate than banana and more vitamin E than broccoli.  It’s also high in fibre and a rich source of iron.

Tom Amery, MD for The Watercress Company explains: “The Festival is all about shouting about these health benefits, demonstrating the versatility of watercress in cooking and just encouraging trial.  This is where the relationship with The Joe Glover Trust is so good for us – their team is fabulous at getting people to try watercress and the public are glad to donate something in return to this wonderful charity.  I am delighted they raised so much.”

The Festival was packed with an estimated 16,000 people converging on the beautiful Georgian market town.  They enjoyed live music, food stalls with locally produced products, cookery demos, informative health talks and much more including the infamous World Watercress Eating Championships.

Jane Wilmshurst concludes: “I have to thank the wonderful team of volunteers from businesses such as Nationwide and law firm Trethowans who helped engage the crowds and tempt them with the watercress, smoothies and pesto.  They all worked incredibly hard, but it was definitely worth it.  See you next year!”

To find out more about watercress and its health benefits, or be inspired by some delicious recipes, visit www.watercress.co.uk

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