This year Chelmsford Cathedral was chosen to be a part of the National Harvest Service and to host the Harvest Torch. The Torch, which symbolises the harvest, was blessed in Westminster Abbey and has travelled around England and Wales with the National Harvest Service. It was commissioned by Love British Food ( ) and made by Master Blacksmith Andy Hall.

Thompson Smith and Puxon (TSP) Wills and Estates team leader, Fiona Ashworth, a member of Essex Agricultural Society, was pleased to attend the Essex County Harvest Thanksgiving service at Chelmsford Cathedral on Sunday 30 September, and witness the presentation of the Torch. An organ fanfare played as it was carried into the Cathedral by Guy Smith, Deputy President of the National Farmers Union.

Harvest is an important festival in the agricultural calendar and the National Harvest Service and the torch are part of a wider campaign to encourage more people to celebrate this age-old tradition. According to the Duchess of Cornwall, who has lent her support to the campaign, years ago celebrating the harvest was almost as important a part of our nation’s calendar as Christmas and Easter. She sees the torch as a beacon for the campaign and hopes it will encourage the celebration of the Harvest, in even greater numbers for many years to come.

Rural Adviser and Agricultural Chaplain for the Diocese of Chelmsford, Revd Janet Nicholls (pictured with the Harvest Torch courtesy of Love British Food) said, “It is a huge privilege for the Diocese of Chelmsford to be hosting the National Harvest Torch in 2018. It has been a delight to work with Love British Food in preparation for our service which includes farmers and food producers, school children, Essex Young Farmers, Essex Agricultural Society, NFU, RABI, FCN, Writtle University College and a range of food producers. We will truly celebrate and give thanks to God for the rich diversity of food produced across Essex and the commitment of those who produce it.”

As mentioned above, the Essex Agricultural Society (EAS) is one of the organisations supporting the festival this year. Fiona is a former EAS Council Member and Robert Ashworth, who is also a solicitor in the TSP Wills and Estates team, is currently a Council Member. The EAS is a registered charity that promotes agriculture and rural related industries through a year-long diary of educational and social events. You can find out more about the EAS here.