The National Harvest Service and the Harvest Torch
The National Harvest Service
The National Harvest Service is a unique and special occasion that has formed part of the Bring Home the Harvest campaign. It aims to bring together communities
to rekindle the age old tradition of celebrating the Harvest.
The Service was held for the first time in 2013, in Westminster Abbey, and has been supported by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall who, when possible, enjoys joining hundreds of children and a host of supporters from the world of food and farming to celebrate the British food and the harvest at this special occasion.
In 2014 the Service was held in Birmingham Cathedral and welcomed a wide cross section of the local community.
The 2015 National Harvest Services were celebrated at hundreds of Services throughout the UK and Bristol Cathedral held the harvest torch.
In 2016, Lincoln Cathedral were hosts of the Harvest Torch and organised a stunning display of Lincolnshire grown and produced food which spanned the entrance to the nave and alter at Lincoln Minster. The country's finest award winning fresh vegetables, fruit, eggs, rapeseed oil, were attractively around around the NFU banners, posters and flags as well as the Lincolnshire flag highlighting the special agricultural county.
In 2017, St Davids Cathedral, Pembrokeshire hosted the Harvest Torch which displays provided by local Co-op stores.
2018 saw the Dioceses of Chelmsford and Ely jointly hosted the National Harvest Festival on 30th September 2018 and 14th October respectively. The Chelmsford service began with the arrival of the Harvest Torch with Bshop Stephen Cottrell, Bishop Roger Morris, farmers and friends. The torch commissioned by Love British Food formed the centre of celebrations as the community gave thanks for the food produced by its 1750 farmers across the 250,000 hectares of agricultural land in Essex.
The Harvest Torch then made its way to Ely Cathedral over the weekend 12-14 October under the theme 'for the beauty of the earth'. It included displays of farm machinery, food, flowers, sheep and wormery showing what happens beneath the ground.
For further information and to find your local harvest service visit our Harvest Services across the Land page.
The Service is begun with the procession of the Harvest Torch, a metalwork sculpture, which you can read more about below.
Read about National Harvest Service 2016 in Lincoln Cathedral.
Read more about the National Harvest Service 2015 in Bristol Cathedral.
Read more about the National Harvest Service 2014, in Birmingham Cathedral,
Read more about the Service to Celebrate the Harvest 2013, in Westminster Abbey.
Watch the highlights: Service to Celebrate the Harvest, in Westminster Abbey
The Harvest Torch
The Love British Food Harvest Torch is very special sculpture which symbolises the harvest and which moves from city to city, with the National Harvest Service. It is currently on display at Birmingham Cathedral.
The torch was be made by Master Blacksmith Andy Hall.
"I am delighted to have been selected to create the Harvest Torch, many of my designs are inspired by nature and so this is a wonderful opportunity to create a piece so dedicated to that subject. I am also delighted to be supporting such a worthy project and hope that it will bring inspiration to future generations for celebrating the harvest.” Andy Hall, Blacksmith.
Andrew Hall has been a blacksmith in Devon since 1986 starting at Branscombe Forge and now also at Powderham Forge. He started his career by completing a 4 year Precision Engineer Apprenticeship at A.K. Wyles in Trowbridge where he successfully achieved an O.N.C. and H.N.C. qualification in Mechanical Engineering and stayed with the company for a further year. He went on to put these newly learnt skills into practice by joining the family business where he spent two years working on the fabrication of gates and railings. Andrew aspired to a more creative way of working with metal and began to explore the traditional craft of blacksmithing - he attended courses at Cannington College to greater develop his skills.
In 1984 Andrew was approached by The Guild of Wrought Ironwork Craftsmen of Wessex to produce a bouquet of handcrafted steel flowers to be laid across a horseshoe. This was presented to H.R.H. The Princess Royal by The Master of the Guild, Roland Hall (Andrew's Father). In 1986 left the family business to set up on his own, founding ASH Ironworks. Working from the idyllic location of a traditional thatched forge nestled in picturesque village of Branscombe he developed a range of traditional and contemporary products to sell from this forge / showroom. Andrew has developed a unique range of products many of which are inspired by nature, and undertakes bespoke commissions of both contemporary and traditional designs which illustrate his great skill as a blacksmith and artist
In 1992, looking for a new challenge, Andrew began competing in live Blacksmiths competitions. In just the second year of competing, he won the title of 'International Live Blacksmith of the Year' and first prize at the 15th International Blacksmith Live Forging Championship in Warwickshire presented by the National Association of Farriers, Blacksmiths & Agricultural Engineers.
From 2005 - 2008 Andrew held the title of 'National Live Blacksmith of the Year', awarded by the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths. This title is won by the blacksmith who earns the most points in live competitions at the county shows. Blacksmiths are given a limited time and an assortment of metal together with a brief description of what should be made. He returned to competing in 2013 and took the title again.
Late in 2009 Andrew was given the title of 'Accredited Judge' and is now qualified to judge at county shows on his own and in June 2012 Andrew was awarded the Bronze Medal by the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths in recognition of his work and now has the title of Master Blacksmith.