The Dean of Ely Cathedral met up with a different flock – a group of Cambridgeshire sheep - during preparations for the Cathedral’s annual harvest festival this weekend (10 and 11 October).
Covid-19 restrictions mean the event is going ahead on a smaller scale without some of the traditional elements, including the sheep, inside the Cathedral.
But instead they will feature in a video, filmed at Albany Farm, Over, which will be played in the Cathedral during the weekend and is also available online here.
The video includes messages from the Dean, The Very Revd Mark Bonney, and NFU Cambridgeshire County Chairman Mat Smith, as well as facts and figures on the county’s food and farming. It also includes some specially composed music from James Olsen, who produced the video for the Cathedral and the NFU.
The Dean said the harvest festival has always been a major event at the Cathedral, incorporating spectacular displays and wonderful exhibits and activities, alongside community worship and music.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
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,10 and 11 October, 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 here.
There will be no Harvest Songs of Praise afternoon service but a Harvest Sung Eucharist will take place at 10.30am on Sunday. You can book for that here.