THINGS got hot in Alresford as the town hosted its first ever Chilli Festival Market.

Part of the Alresford Pigs’ fund-raising drive this year was to grow and sell plants locally and encourage people to donate their surplus plants.

This initiative was spearheaded by local resident, member of the Pigs and managing director of Winchester Wood Floors, Alex Tolfree – and led to the inaugural event.

"Growing fruit and veg always really helped with anxiety and depression which I have been struggling with for a while so I thought if I grew a few more I could raise some money for the Pigs," said Alex, who grew the plants.

"When the lockdown began like most people who suffer from this kind of thing I thought I might struggle so I needed a way to ‘step it up’.

"I’ve always loved chillies, so I combined growing with a way to raise money and the idea of the first Alresford Chilli Festival Market was born.”

Held at Arlebury Park, the market boasted more than 600 plants comprising 92 different varieties of chilli plus 25 varieties of peppers.

Local companies also supplied chilli-related products for sale including chilli oil, chilli brownies and even chilli fudge.

The event raised over £3,000 for the charity. The leftover plants were sold at Alresford Allotments off Spring Gardens last Saturday.