National remembrance for those who have died in the farming community

A national remembrance service led by The Farming Community Network (FCN) charity will provide an opportunity to remember those who have died in farming communities.

A national service will pay tribute to those who have died in the farming community, because of farm accidents, Covid-19, and those who have died by suicide. It will recognise the experience of loss felt by all those who have been bereaved.

It has been arranged to give family members and friends a chance to remember those who have died, and will recognise the on-going grief felt. The service will give all of those in the agricultural field a chance to reflect and remember those who have been lost from the farming community.

The ecumenical Remembrance and Thanksgiving service will take place on 7th November 2021 at 15:30pm.  The service will be held at Ripon Cathedral in North Yorkshire and will be free to either attend in person or via livestream. As numbers will likely have to be controlled due to the ongoing lockdown easing, those interested in attending are asked to register their interest on the FCN website

This will be a national service, available to all in the UK. In addition to those luck enough to attend the medieval cathedral in person, people can join from home via a free livestream. Those at home can still feel a part of the service by lighting a candle in memorial. They are also inviting those who have been bereaved in the farming community to submit their details so their loved one can be remembered during the service.

The service is inspired by the work of Embrace FARM in Ireland, a support network for those affected by farm accidents.

The service will align with the FCN Harvest Service, which is held annually, and will carry a message of hope and unity.

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. During the Covid-19 pandemic, many people have been deprived of the ability to attend funerals, remember those they have lost or properly grieve. We hope this service will help to recognise those who have died as well as provide support and comfort to those who have been bereaved.”

According to the Health and Safety Executive, agriculture has the worst rate of worker fatal injury (per 100,000) of the main industrial sectors. It is eighteen times as high as the average rate across all industries.

The Rt Revd Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, Bishop of Ripon will lead the service, which will include hymns, readings and personal accounts of those being remembered.

The service will conclude with speakers including NFU Deputy President Stuart Roberts, alongside light refreshments.

The service can be attended in person or viewed via stream from Ripon Cathedral on the 7th of November

Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, Bishop of Ripon, said: “This past year has inflicted many challenges on our nation, and our farming and agriculture sector has not been immune to these challenges. Finding space to remember and give thanks for those we have loved and see no longer is a vital part of restoring elements of the normality we once knew. This opportunity to gather, give thanks, and share in grief is a wonderful opportunity to remind ourselves of the strength of the wider farming community. I am delighted that Ripon Cathedral is hosting this national service, and look forward to welcoming everyone to this important occasion.”

Stuart Roberts, NFU Deputy President, said: “The last year has been challenging for us all. Covid-19 has affected every single part of the UK and there cannot be a single community that has not felt the significant impact of the pandemic itself as well as the controls that have been put in place to control the virus. A national service of remembrance for those who have died in the farming community during the pandemic will give us all an opportunity to reflect on the real impacts of this unprecedented period. The community spirit I find in rural areas is always a huge source of strength for us all and I hope as many people as possible will be able to join FCN and Bishop Helen-Ann to remember all those in our community that have been most affected.”

 Norma Rohan, Co-founder of Embrace FARM, said: “We are very supportive of FCN organising a remembrance service to recognise those who have died in farming communities and support families who have experienced loss. Embrace FARM provides support to over 250 families in Ireland annually through our remembrance, bereavement and resilient support services. We hope that FCN’s service will help to support families in England and Wales and provide an opportunity to grieve and recognise the losses felt by all those who have been bereaved.”

FCN is inviting those in the agricultural community who have been bereaved to put forward their names so that their loved one will be remembered. There is a ‘roll-call’ of those lost planned as part of the service.

The FCN hopes that as many people as possible will be able to feel included in the service. Depending on Government restrictions at the time, FCN may need to limit the numbers of those who can attend. Those interested in attending can register interest, ahead of the final numbers being approved in October. For those unable to attend the service will be livestreamed and recorded so that it is accessible to all following the ceremony taking place.

If you are interested in attending please fill out the form on FCN’s website (fcn.org.uk/remembrance-service/) they are also welcoming families to provide details of a loved ones to be recognised as part of the service.

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