Ripon Cathedral was packed at the weekend as the Yorkshire Agricultural Society celebrated Harvest, part of a mammoth weekend of events which included a harvest supper on Saturday evening, a harvest service in conjuction with Dementia Forward on Sunday afternoon and the spectacular Dean's Banquet in the nave of the cathedral on Friday evening.
The Yorkshire Agricultural Society encourages and supports the agricultural community as well as organising and hosting the Great Yorkshire Show and Countryside Live.
Around 450 people attended, with civic dignitaries and leaders of the farming community including the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Barry Dodd, CBE, the High Sheriff for the East Riding of Yorkshire Mrs Gillian Drewry, Bill Cowling, President of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, and Charles Mills, Director of the Great Yorkshire Show.
During the service children brought forward gifts symbolising crops and harvest, including seeds and bread. They also brought contributions for the Ripon Salvation Army Food Bank.
Show Director Charles Mills said: “Farming has been buoyant this year although the weather has been a challenge. This means that sadly not everyone will have their crops in, meaning it’s been a long season for many. However, this will not stop us as a farming community coming together at Ripon Cathedral this year to celebrate the Harvest festival.”
The Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson said: “As we thank God for his providence it was good to have the opportunity to celebrate the contribution of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society to the wellbeing of rural communities and those engaged in agriculture in this region – particularly at a time when there is a deal of anxiety and uncertainty due to Brexit.”
The harvest theme continued on Sunday afternoon when the Cathedral held its Harvest Songs of Praise Service in conjunction with the Ripon based charity Dementia Forward. It was an opportunity for those living with dementia and their carers to come to a traditional harvest thanksgiving service designed to be accessible to all.
The evening befoe, Saturday 30 September, the Cathedral held its own traditional harvest supper and money raised will go to the Ripon Salvation Army Food Bank.
Dean John said: “The faithful response to the unfailing love and care of God is one of gratitude expressed in charity to the less fortunate and one of the ways in which the cathedral community expresses this gratitude – not just at harvest – but at other times of the year – is by supporting the Ripon Salvation Army Food Bank.”