THE summer heatwave added to a busy season so far this year for the volunteers at Tenbury Wells Tourist Information Centre as they prepared for the Applefest in October.

About 400 leaflets are in stock promoting attractions for all ages, for locals and visitors alike.

The centre is still run by Malvern Hills District Council but is supported by volunteers only.

These people play a vital part in supporting the local economy by making people aware of the holiday attractions in the area and also the local pubs, hotels and restaurants.

Despite the importance of tourism to jobs and prosperity in the area there are no paid tourism staff working in the town, although the Tourist Information Centre remains open throughout the year.

Although Tenbury is busy in the summer with events like the Tenbury Music Festival and Tenbury Show, the town has increasingly found itself attracting visitors throughout the year.

This is in line with other tourist venues throughout the country.

In the autumn the big set piece day in the calendar is the Applefest in October.

Applefest is the annual celebration of the apple that has traditionally been one of the most important fruit crops grown in Tenbury and the Teme Valley.

This is followed in late autumn and early winter with the Mistletoe Festival and sales.

The sales take place on the last Tuesday in November and the first two Tuesdays in December.

Buyers from all over the country and the continent come to Tenbury to buy the fruit from the kissing tress. The crop from Tenbury is sold all over the country and in Europe.

Mistletoe is a paracite that can have white or red berries and is widely associated with Christmas decorations.

The crop is harvested in the late autumn.

It is linked to the druids and is thought historically to promote fertility hence the custom of kissing underneath a wreath of mistletoe.