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An ancient orchard in the village of Leigh (Surrey) is the subject of a special bequest to the village by a family who have lived in the village and supported the community for more than 100 years. When John Sidney Howard Handley Motion, who lived in Clayhill Road, passed away on 21 st April 2020 at the age of 84, he bequested that the 1-acre orchard dating back to circa 1850 that formed part of his estate, be gifted to the village for the benefit of the community. He specified that the future use be limited to an orchard or private paddock being a place for improving orchard and hedgerow management, to include an educational programme for teaching such skills as enhancing fruit production and optimum pruning techniques and to create a Wilding theme that can embrace and support wildlife and contribute to fruit yields.

At a ceremony on 30 th July, three members of John’s family handed over the Deeds of the orchard to the Leigh Parish Council who will act as Stakeholders in perpetuo. Mark Motion (son) and his two sisters Dr Sara Motion and Catherine Niessen (nee Motion) were jointly involved in the handover and joined a special lunch in their honour at the cricket pavilion to celebrate the generous bequest made by their father.

Leigh Parish Council Chair, Joanne Cambra, thanked Mark, Sara and Catherine for the amazing gift and explain how the terms and conditions will be met. “Our Council has been pleased to grant an exclusive Licence to the registered
Community Company ‘Leigh Apple Press Group’ (LAPG) to ensure that the very specific conditions that attach to this very generous gift are achieved. The LAPG is recognised for the management of the annual Leigh Food Festival, but more importantly they have a 6-year specialist record in apples and pressing which will be invaluable as they develop the vision and wider purpose for the John Motion Orchard” she said. During the ceremonials at the orchard, a sapling apple tree was planted by the three Motion family members , the first new planting there in more than 60 years. The process was assisted by Jo Cambra and Charlotte Kinloch.

The forebears of the Motion family came to live in the village in 1919, soon after the cessation of WWI. As a great grandfather to the current generation, Sidney Motion acquired the Leigh Place Estate including several cottages and some land. John Motion was born in The Priest House when it was owned by his father Graham. Soon after his marriage to Anne, John took up residence at Cleavers in Clayhill Road. Mark Motion said that the John Motion Orchard, as it will in future now be known, will provide a strong link with the community of Leigh as the residency of the family in the
village comes to an end after 102 years.

– ENDS –

Picture caption (left to right): Dr Sara Motion, Charlotte Kinloch, Mark Motion, Joanne Cambra and Catherine Niessen.

Issued by the LAPG. Media contact: Simon Ames – M: 07785 745857

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