Biddenden Vineyards played host to The Diocese of Canterbury for a special Kent County Harvest Thanksgiving service on the evening of Sunday 22nd October. Rt Reverend Trevor Willmott, the Bishop of Dover, carried out the ceremony overlooking the vineyards, joined by The High Sherrif of Kent, George Jessel, Rev Alex Bienfait Rector of Biddenden & Smarden and specially invited guests from the county’s food & farming industry. The London Vegetable Orchestra, with instruments crafted from vegetables including a pumpkin, carrot, courgette & pepper, led the guests in a verse of ‘We plough the fields & scatter’.
The service gave thanks for a harvest safely gathered in, linking the importance of farming and agriculture with the wellbeing of the local community. The service has traditionally taken place in Canterbury Cathedral, but this year the organisers decided to try something different. Canon Caroline Pinchbeck, Director of the Communities and Partnerships Framework, explains, “Harvest is so connected to the outdoors and rooted in the physicality of working with the land and the elements, that we decided it would be wonderful to bring this into the service itself by hosting it outside.” She continued: “This has been a huge success and we’re grateful to Julian Barnes and all the team at Biddenden Vineyard for making us so welcome.”
Following the service, guests were welcomed into the winery for a reception where Biddenden wine, cider and juice were served, with food & drink being provided by local producers S.W. Doughty Butchers, Kentish Mayde pies, Cheesemakers of Canterbury, Simply Fruit Cakes and Goody Ales.
Biddenden Vineyards’ Managing Director, Julian Barnes, commented “It was a great honour to play host to the Harvest Thanksgiving. Harvest is a very important time for us and it was lovely to be able to welcome friends and colleagues here at the vineyard for this special service”.
A collection was taken on behalf of the local branches of the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (R.A.B.I) and the Farming Community Network – both charities which offer support to those working within the rural industry in Kent with a total of £440.75 being donated.