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Press Release: HRH the Duchess of Cornwall to join Birmingham's school children

Press Release: HRH the Duchess of Cornwall to join Birmingham's school children

The National Harvest Service, an event first held at Westminster Abbey in 2013, and now firmly established on the National calendar, will take place at Birmingham Cathedral on 20th October 2014. The service is being held as part of Love British Food’s campaign to reinvigorate the tradition of celebrating the harvest and is sponsored by Tesco. Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, will attend the service and will join children from across the city and further afield, to celebrate the harvest.

Around 360 children from 20 schools will be attending the Service. The children will take centre stage as they present their harvest boxes, filled with home-grown and home-cooked goodies which they have prepared themselves, to Her Royal Highness. The boxes are the culmination of much hard work on the part of the children who have gone to great lengths not only growing, making and collecting the produce, but taking part in food and farming activities and holding harvest events that involve their wider school communities.

Camelia Paton Devine, Teacher from The Oval Primary School in Birmingham said, “We grow our own organic fruit and vegetable in our school allotment and learn how to tend the soil, make compost and grow from seed. Over all our vision of ‘from seed to plate,’ becomes a reality in our state of the art food technology room, where we use our allotment produce to cook delicious and healthy recipes. Our local community gets involved too, we promote buying British, growing locally and having fun cooking!”

West House School has been working closely with the acclaimed restaurant Opus at Cornwall Street. Ann Tonks, Managing Director at Opus commented: “I cannot emphasise enough how vital it is that the next generation grows up understanding that we must encourage our own farming and fishing heritage, and must care for our environment in the process.”

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall will be joined by a host of dignitaries and supporters from the world of food and farming, including Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins, Olivier Blanc, creator of children’s character Henri Le Worm and son of renowned chef and writer Raymond Blanc, and top local chef Glynn Purnell.

The Bishop of Birmingham will give a special address and a harvest poem written and performed by 16 year old Lauren Williams, Young Poet Laureate for Birmingham 2013-14, will be unveiled.

The Cathedral will also be the first to welcome the new ‘Harvest Torch’ a symbolic sculpture which will pass from host city to host city with the National Harvest Service, akin to the Olympic Torch. The Harvest Torch is being blessed in Westminster Abbey before it makes its journey to Birmingham Cathedral.

Guests attending the National Harvest Service will be greeted by farm animals from local food and farming visitor attraction, Hatton Adventure World, and a stunning harvest display created by Tesco, sponsor of the service, at the Main Door.

At the end of the Service, the harvest boxes will be collected from the Cathedral by an historic horse drawn trolley which used to be used to deliver produce from a local farm into the city, and taken to the Birmingham Central Food Bank for distribution.

Why is celebrating British food and the harvest important?

Secretary of State Elizabeth Truss, said: “Food and farming is a cornerstone of our local communities and a powerhouse of our economy.

I want us to lead the world in this vital area and capitalise on the revival of local food. I’m committed to people being more connected with what they eat and drink and increasing the opportunity at every level to choose healthy, seasonal, local produce.

Important events like Bring Home the Harvest help by bringing us together in celebration of all that is great about our wonderful food and drink – from our gastro pubs and chippies, to our Sunday roast and farmers markets.”

Sir Richard Broadbent, Chairman of Tesco which is sponsoring the Bring Home the Harvest campaign, said: “Harvest has long been one of the busiest and most important periods in the British agriculture calendar, a time when communities come together to gather the crops.

“Providing families with affordable, fresh and healthy food, is right at the heart of what we do. Tesco is British agricultures biggest customer and the biggest retailer of locally sourced food. Working directly with around 1,000 farmers across Scotland, England and Wales we are continually inspired by their hard work and their commitment to provide the best of British for our customers.

I am sure that getting involved in growing food and learning where their food comes from will help our young people form a life-long positive connection with the food they eat. That is why I am proud that once again we have been able to support the Bring Home the Harvest campaign.”

Commentingon the harvest celebrations, organiser Alexia Robinson said: “We are delighted that the National Harvest Service will be held in Birmingham Cathedral this year. It is fitting that a city with such a vibrant and varied food culture is playing an important part in restoring Harvest Festival’s place on the national calendar, particularly with the younger generations who have not grown up with the tradition of celebrating the harvest."

She continues: “We are fortunate to live in a country with four distinct seasons: ‘the warmth to swell the grain, the breezes and the sunshine, and soft refreshing rain’; a wonderfully varied topography with fells, dales, moors, plains, valleys, marsh, pasture and coast; and a vibrant farming community that despite relentless challenges continues to succeed in producing some of the highest quality food in the world. From our beef and sheep breeds which are the envy of the world; to our dairy farmers who now produce more types of cheese than France; to the abundance and rich variety of fruit and vegetables; to nature’s harvest which gives us mushrooms, haws, hips, blackberries and sweet chestnuts. There is so much to celebrate this harvest time.”

Who is behind Bring Home the Harvest?

The Bring Home the Harvest campaign is sponsored by Tesco Plc and is part of British Food Fortnight. British Food Fortnight is sponsored by ARAMARK and a large family of organisations led by Centreplate, Enterprise Inns, Hallmark Care Homes, Cucina Restaurants and Whiting and Hammond.

The Love British Food National Committee is made up of representatives from across the spectrum of food and farming industries. Click here for further details about the Bring Home the Harvest National Committee.


Notes to Editors:

For further press information and images please contact Catherine or Pippa on

T: 0203 239 7032



Please note that a Royal Rota will be in operation at the event. An operational note will be issued by Clarence House in the next few days. Please apply for accreditation through the normal channels. Clarence House contact- Amanda Foster,

For Tesco media queries contact Rebecca Miller

T: 01992 644645