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University triumphs at Royal Berkshire Show – University of Reading

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University triumphs at Royal Berkshire Show

Release Date 24 September 2013

MERL volunteers assist children at the University's Berkshire Show stand

Delicious free samples of rare fruit, a bee hotel and interactive fun for everyone helped the University of Reading to win two top prizes at the Royal Berkshire Show 2013.

The University's display won first prize in the best large trade stand and the best local trade stand categories at this year's show, which ran over the weekend of 21st and 22nd September.

This year the display focused on Reading's work with fruit. More than 3000 visitors to the stand learnt about the University's cutting-edge research which is examining the wider health benefits of eating fruit, including the positive impact of blueberries on Alzheimer's disease.

The stand also showcased the crucial research being undertaken by Reading experts to secure the future of fruit. The University of Reading is responsible for scientifically curating and maintaining the National Fruit Collection (NFC) in Kent, one of the largest fruit collections in the world. Reading researchers are working to ensure that there are enough food crops for the future, helping to protect crops against future threats like pests and global climate change. On display were around 30 varieties from the NFC, 25 of which originated in Berkshire including dessert apple Shinfield Seedling.

Hundreds of visitors used pedal power to make their own delicious smoothies using while children made the stand a hive of activity by buzzing around making bee hotels ith staff and volunteers from the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL). Children were also bubbling with excitement as they created their own fizzy drinks with suspended beads of fruit juice.

The displays also showcased books and Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food films from MERL's Rural Life's archives and library, which gave a fascinating historical insight into fruit cultivation in Berkshire and across England.

Visitors to the stand also helped MERL by contributing their views on the Museum's plans for a major redevelopment as part of the ‘Our Country Lives' project.

Sir David Bell, the University's Vice-Chancellor, who attended the show on Sunday, said: "The University of Reading's tremendous display at the Royal Berkshire Show was an excellent opportunity for us to showcase our research. We were able to communicate, in a simple and straightforward manner, the cognitive benefits of consuming fruit. We also talked to an audience of all ages on the work being done to tackle  the  threat  posed to crops by climate and environmental change.

"The University continues to be an international leader in high-quality teaching and research in agriculture, food science and health. By linking together the many facets of our work, we help to ensure the security of the food chain and the wider health of our society well into the future."




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