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Farming communities are for life, not just for showtime

First published on: 3rd July 2024

Prime hoggets, clean cows and cast sheep were all on sale at Leyburn Auction Mart this week, ahead of the Great Yorkshire Show and where Revd Chris Lawton is its chaplain.

Revd Chris is vicar of the Benefice of Lower Wensleydale and alongside serving his parishioners, he is a regular feature at the livestock auctions that give an important social rhythm to rural life.

As part of his visit to mark the 10th anniversary of the Diocese of Leeds, Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell was given a guided tour of the mart with its many pens that hold hundreds of animals for sale.

But it is the people of the farming community who are the focus of Rev’d Chris’ attention and efforts:
“Farming can be a lonely life and while some people just need friendly conversations, some do need real support and you get to learn how to give that by getting to know people first,” he said. “For example, sometimes people I know will point me to someone who needs help following a bereavement.”

The Rt Revd Anna Eltringham, Bishop of Ripon is a great fan of the mart, having taken part in its Christmas Carol Service last year.

“The mart is an incredible place for the business of farming and as a place for those who farm to connect and talk and support one another.

“Farming is relentless hard graft and can be quite isolating in the dales or on the moors, so being with those who ‘get it’ can be a life-line,” Bishop Anna said.

She will be at next week’s Great Yorkshire Show on one of the days and the Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds is due to be on site and meeting people on Wednesday.

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