Pumpkin Pride for Harvest festival

PUPILS from Taxal and Fernilee primary school, Whaley Bridge,  showed off some of the vegetables  they have grown this summer in raised beds in the school courtyard.  But pride of place went to their pumpkins, three of them giants that took three young pairs of hands to lift.

On Friday  (24 September)  the pumpkins, along with beans, carrots and corn on the cob, helped decorate St James’s  Church, Taxal, a brisk walk from the church school.  The children, parents and teachers held their own Harvest Festival to celebrate the success of their first gardening and fruit growing year.

The school produce, with other gifts and flowers, later provided the background for the parish Harvest Festival on Sunday (26 Sep).  After the weekend, pumpkins and the many other gifts brought by children and  congregation were distributed to older or infirm people.

Rev Cheri Pinner, vicar of Whaley Bridge, said:  “This was my first Harvest Festival in the parish, and seeing the children’s pumpkins reminded me of harvest festivals where I was brought up in West Virginia.”

Other harvest festivals in Whaley Bridge include:

  • Uniting Church, 10.30am Sunday 3 October
  • Fernilee, 2.30pm Sunday 10 October.


GREEN FINGERS  This was  the first year of Taxal and Fernilee school’s vegetable growing, funded by  Derbyshire  County Council’s ‘Growing Better Together’ project.  It is part of a wider programme to develop the school grounds,  in partnership with the Derbyshire Wild Life Trust.  An orchard has replaced an overgrown area, with apples, pears, plum, damson, blueberries, and other soft fruits.  School cook, Muriel Smith has already used some vegetables in dishes.  Head Vicky Keen said:  “Gardening gives the children a sense of achievement, and shows we can change the environment.  They will also learn about enterprise – next year we will be selling some of the produce.”


  • In the attached  picture, seven year olds Henry White, Tess Newbould and Cerys Walker lift the biggest pumpkin (about 7lbs in weight).