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VIDEO: Planting Worksop’s very own variety of apple tree

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Service users at Worksop Community Resource centre will see the fruits of their labour blossom after digging in to plant an apple tree.

But this is not just any apple tree. The Sissons Worksop Newton is a variety of dessert apple raised right here in Worksop.

Frank Sissons, founder and former editor of this very newspaper, first raised the seed more than 100 years ago.

A joint research project between Clumber Park’s gardening team and Worksop Library revealed the link between the apple and the Worksop Guardian news man.

“The apples have been growing in the nursery at Clumber Park but they never knew where the variety came from,” said library assistant Jennie Johnson who carried out the research with her colleague Stephen Sullivan.

“I knew it would be Mr Sissons but I just had to prove it.”

Jennie delved deep into the library’s archives to uncover Mr Sissons’ obituary, carried in the local press after his death in 1910.

There, she found evidence of his hobbies and interests.

“His leisure time he devoted to outdoor pursuits...” wrote the Worksop Guardian, announcing Mr Sissons’ death.

“Of late years he had turned his attention to horticulture and poultry-raising and had gained a foremost place as a breeder of Orpingtons.”

Jennie said Mr Sissons had lived in Potter Street where the family printers and stationers business, Messrs Sissons and Son, was based.

She said: “These properties had long gardens and it is possible he could also have had an allotment at Mr Straw’s or maybe one behind Bridge Street, of which there were several.”

After gathering enough evidence to prove the providence of the Sissons Worksop Newton apple, it was decided to plant a tree in the garden of Worksop Community Resource, which is behind Worksop Library on Memorial Avenue.

“I think Mr Sissons would have been pleased to see his apple tree planted here, just down the road from where he raised the seed,” said Jennie.

The Sissons Worksop Newton variety was raised from the seed of a Newtown Pippin apple.

Best picked and eaten between October and December, it is described as a green-yellow fruit with a light orange-brown flush and tastes rich, aromatic and pineapple-like.

“It’s very possible that there are more of these trees around Worksop, perhaps in people’s gardens,” said Jennie.

• News of Frank Sissons’ sudden death, on board the RMS Ambrose near Lisbon, Portugal, shocked the Worksop community.

He had suffered a heart attack, aged 48.

Colleagues reported he had left England ‘in good health’ just days before and was looking forward to his trip.

A report in the Retford, Gainsborough and Worksop Times reads: “Mr Sissons had visited Portugal, where Mrs Sissons had resided for some time, and has many friends, on several previous occasions, and was very much interested in the country.”

“At the time of his death he was preparing a lecture upon Portugal and the recent revolution for delivery before the Worksop Photographic Society, and, though his visit was primarily for pleasure, he desired to study the portugal situation on the spot with some idea of using the results for journalistic purposes.”

A Worksop Guardian writer paid tribute to a man who was “upright in his dealings; kind and considerate in his relations; firm in his attachments, and constant in his friendships - one whose loss to Worksop is very great indeed.”

They continued: “He was a born worker and did not spare himself , and though, in later years he was more content to guide and control, it was his manly, independent spirit that pervaded the paper week by week.”

“He was the soul of honour, He would not stoop to do a mean thing, nor cringe to obtain a favour. His independence offended some, but it gained the respect of most, as those who worked with him are proud to put on record.”

Mr Sissons’ remains were buried at the English Cemetery in Lisbon.

Hundreds attended a memorial service at the Priory Church in Worksop where a memorial plaque can still be found today.

 

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