Hope, unity and the need for people across agriculture to come together in support of one another as part of a community were highlighted during The Farming Community Network’s (FCN) Remembrance and Thanksgiving Service on Sunday 7 November at Ripon Cathedral, North Yorkshire.
The ecumenical service paid tribute to those who have died in farm communities, with a particular focus on farm accidents, Covid-19, and those who have died by suicide. It recognised the experience of loss felt by all those who have been bereaved.
The Rt Revd Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, Bishop of Ripon, led the service, which included hymns, readings and personal accounts of those being remembered.
More than 100 people attended the service, both in-person and tuning into a livestream from home, which can be rewatched here. In attendance were the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire; Stuart Roberts, Deputy President of the National Farmers’ Union; FCN volunteers and staff; and many members of the public who were remembering lost loved ones.
Following the service, Stuart Roberts (pictured) gave a speech, where he said: "The farming community will always be there to support one another. People are at the heart of farming. FCN and other charities are the people who support people - and that's why they're so important.”
Mark Suthern, Chair of FCN’s Board of Trustees, also spoke of the need for the farm community to support one another through the changes ahead for British agriculture.
The Farming Community Network is a voluntary organisation and charity that supports farmers and families within the farming community through difficult times. FCN helps approximately 6,000 farmers and farming families each year with a wide range of issues, including mental health, family disputes, animal disease and financial concerns.
Jude McCann, CEO of The Farming Community Network, said: “The farming community knows all too well the pain that comes following a death due to a farm accident or other tragic circumstance. Many of us will know someone personally who has been affected by a farm accident, a death by suicide, cancer, or other tragedies that leave lasting impacts on farming families across the UK.
“We would like to thank everyone who attended, took part and helped to organise our Remembrance Service. We hope it provided an opportunity to recognise those who have died as well as provided support and comfort to those who have been bereaved.”
Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, Bishop of Ripon, said: “We give thanks for those whose work it is to bring comfort and light, for charities like FCN and its volunteers, for the skilled work of medical staff and our emergency services, for the NFU, and for those who work tirelessly to fund-raise and provide vision and leadership to charities and organisations who assist in the farming sector.”
If you are struggling or know somebody who is and would like to speak with someone who understands the pressures of farming life, FCN can be contacted on 03000 111 999 (7am-11pm every day of the year) and help [at] fcn.org.uk. Calls are confidential and non-judgemental.