No sheep at annual Ely Cathedral harvest as weekend festival goes digital

PUBLISHED: 16:28 06 October 2020 | UPDATED: 17:06 06 October 2020

The annual Ely Cathedral harvest celebrations will be held online this year due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Picture: James Olsen

The annual Ely Cathedral harvest celebrations will be held online this year due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Picture: James Olsen

James Olsen

There will be no sheep at this year’s Ely Cathedral harvest celebrations as the festival moves online due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

NFU Cambridgeshire County Chairman Mat Smith. Picture: James OlsenNFU Cambridgeshire County Chairman Mat Smith. Picture: James Olsen

The annual event will be going ahead this year on October 10 and 11 but on a much smaller scale, leaving out some of the traditional elements.

Sheep will now instead feature in a video, filmed at a farm at Over, which will be played in the cathedral during the weekend.

The video includes messages from the Dean, the Very Revd Mark Bonney, and NFU Cambridgeshire County Chairman Mat Smith.

It also includes some specially composed music from James Olsen, who produced the video for the cathedral and the NFU.

Very Reverend Mark Bonney feeding sheep. Picture: James OlsenVery Reverend Mark Bonney feeding sheep. Picture: James Olsen

The Dean said: “This year we will still be celebrating harvest and paying tribute to all those who have worked so hard to bring the harvest home, but in a slightly different format.

“This includes producing this video to send a huge thank you to all the key workers who have helped keep us fed during Covid-19.

“The farmers and farm workers, those packing and processing our food, the hauliers and everyone else employed in the food chain from farm to fork.”

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Mat Smith said Cambridgeshire farmers valued the support they had received from the public during the pandemic.

“I’m delighted to join this virtual harvest celebration on behalf of those farmers,” he said.

“We’ll carry on working hard to produce food and care for the countryside and we look forward to celebrating harvest 2021 back in Ely Cathedral with all the displays and, of course, the sheep.”

The harvest festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday, October 10 and 11, and it will still feature floral and produce displays and a vintage tractor.

Produce on display will include apples and pears provided by local Wisbech growers and salad and vegetable crops grown by G’s.

The cathedral is open from 10am to 4pm on Saturday (last entry at 3.30pm) and 1pm to 3.30pm on Sunday (last entry 3pm).

Entry is free over the weekend but tickets must be booked in advance.

There will be no Harvest Songs of Praise afternoon service but a Harvest Sung Eucharist will take place at 10.30am on Sunday.

For more information, visit: www.elycathedral.org/visit


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