She’s drowning in pumpkins thanks to generous donation

Charity worker Abbie Panks is literally drowning in Halloween pumpkins.

She is pictured here at Oakley Farms in Outwell, west Norfolk, which is one of the largest suppliers of pumpkins in Britain.

Miss Panks, who runs the Wells-based national charity Fairyland Trust, visited the farm on Saturday to pick up the incredibly generous donation of 250 pumpkins for a family Halloween event she is organising.

Transporting all of these pumpkins to Holt Hall, where the event, which provides families with an alternative take on Halloween, is being held, would seem a demanding task at the best of times.

It became even more of a challenge when the Fairyland Trust van broke down and in a gesture of true community spirit, the landlady of Miss Panks' local pub has come to the rescue.

Trish McManus from The Hare Arms in Stow Bardolph has allowed Miss Panks to use the pub's van to enable her to transport the pumpkins to Holt in just one 50-mile journey.

Miss Panks said: 'It's really nice that these people have come together and helped us out and the result will be a lot of happy children this Halloween.

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'We are expecting at least 400 children each day to our two-day event so we knew that we needed a lot of pumpkins. One of our volunteers was aware that one of this massive pumpkin supplier in Outwell so approached them and fortunately they were happy to help.

'We are very grateful for this incredibly generous donation and also to Trish McManus at The Hare Arms, who has really rescued us.'

David Murfitt, farm manager at Oakley Farms, said: 'We get a lot of requests for pumpkin donations.

'Fairyland Trust is an excellent Norfolk-based charity that does a lot of good work so I was happy to make this donation.'

He added: 'I've been growing pumpkins for 20 years and the amount that we grow increases every year.

'This year we are growing between three-and-a-half and four million pumpkins so we are flat out at the moment, working 16 hours a day.'

Fairyland Trust has been running for 10 years and the charity works to encourage children's interaction with nature.

The event it is holding at Holt Hall is called The Real Halloween and is being held on October 30 from 12pm to 6pm and October 31 from 11am to 5pm.

This will feature woodland walks, a witch's kitchen, pumpkin carving, apple bobbing, craft stalls, a Halloween cafe, story telling, lantern making and a lantern procession.

Miss Panks said: 'The event will focus on teaching children the seasonal aspect of Halloween rather than encouraging them to bang on doors and ask for sweets. It will be educational and there will be lots to do for the whole family.'

Booking is advisable as the event is expected to be popular and places are limited.

Entrance is �3 per person, with under-threes free.

To book a place go to or call 07540 725388.