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Fresca & Thompson’s Innovation Centre bagged £30,000 after picking up the inaugural Special Merit Award 2020: Climate Change.

The new award supports horticultural scientific research and industrial development, with organisers choosing the major challenge of climate change as its first subject of research.

Applicants had to demonstrate that their work is achieving significant impact and requires further financial support to take its work to the next level.

Fresca & Thompson’s Innovation Centre received the award for its work in addressing the increasingly challenging weather conditions, and taking advantage of increased warmth and longer growing periods.

The centre is a partnership between Fresca and Essex-based George Thompson Ltd. A long relationship between the duo saw the development of the centre, home to a diverse range of trials and application of R&D in a commercial environment with a particular focus on sustainability.

Peter Thompson, managing director of George Thompson Ltd said: “We are very proud to receive the Special Merit Award from the Fruiterers and JHSB, recognising the work we have undertaken to date with the support of Fresca and Belazu. This allows us to accelerate and expand the scope of our work to deliver the results and change we are aiming for.”

The award was formed by a collaboration between the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers, and the Trustees of the Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology (JHSB).

The award will be presented at the Fruiterer’s Audit Court dinner, at London’s Mercers Hall in May.

Professor Eve Mitleton-Kelly, chairman of the Special Merit Awards, WCF said: “This is the first of many future awards that the Awards Council looks forward to granting as part of the WCF’s commitment to support research into the vital areas of climate change, education and wellbeing. We are delighted to have such a deserving winner.

“The objectives of Fresca & Thompson’s Innovation Centre show originality and vision. The Centre “was created to identify and commercialise potential new UK crops as a climate change adaptation and mitigation project”. That objective fits very well with the Award objectives. We are also very pleased to be working with the Trustees of the JHSB and look forward to our partnership continuing in the future.”