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Watercress lovers show their generosity

Watercress growers from Hampshire and Dorset were delighted to present a cheque for £4,000 to Jane Wilmshurst of the Joe Glover Trust last week.

The money was donated by visitors to the recent Alresford Watercress Festival which took place on Sunday 20 May in the Hampshire Market Town. The NFU Watercress Association is the principal sponsor of the Festival, supported by Hampshire and Dorset growers, The Watercress Company, Vitacress and Alresford Salads. The growers had encouraged Festival goers to exchange bags of fresh watercress, glasses of delicious watercress & mango smoothie or pots of watercress pesto for donations to The Joe Glover Trust.

As the Festival’s long-standing charity partner, the Trust has benefitted from the generosity of Watercress lovers for many years.

Jane Wilmshurst explains how the money collected will be used: “The Joe Glover Trust helps families with children being cared for in specialist children’s cancer units from across Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, West Sussex, the Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands. It was founded in 2007 after the death of eight year of Joe Glover to Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. When a child is diagnosed, many parents are forced to give up work or take unpaid leave to care for their sick child but, of course, the mortgage, council tax and other household bills must still be paid. The Trust helps with these bills, the travel costs to hospital, or sadly even the funeral bill, to help ease the financial burden faced at this very difficult time. The money raised at the Festival will go towards these essential services. I can’t thank people enough for their generosity.”

This year’s Festival saw record crowds of around 16,000 people converge on Alresford to celebrate the start of the UK watercress season. They enjoyed the opportunity to sample an array of locally produced food, much of which featured watercress in some way; cookery demos, local bands, the Watercress King & Queen dispensing freshly harvested watercress and the much-anticipated World Watercress Eating Championships.

However, underlying the fun and frivolity is a serious message – watercress is incredibly good for you and in fact is the original super food. Not only does it contain over 50 vital minerals and vitamins (gram for gram Watercress contains more calcium than milk, more folate than bananas, more Vitamin E than broccoli and more Vitamin C than oranges), watercress has also been scientifically proven to reduce blood pressure and helps to prevent cancer.

Charles Barter, Chair of the NFU Watercress Association and who also represents The Watercress Company says: “Scientific research has shown clear links between eating watercress and the prevention of cancer. We feel this makes the Joe Glover Trust an entirely appropriate charity to support, as well as it being local to the key watercress growing areas of the UK, Hampshire and Dorset. The work the Trust does is invaluable and sadly too many families must take advantage of their services. We are delighted to support them, and I’m proud to be able to present the Trust with such a substantial sum.”


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