Around 250 people came together at Ripon Cathedral on Sunday to celebrate farming and rural life at the annual Plough Sunday Service.

Plough Sunday marks the first working day after the twelve days of Christmas. Historically, ploughs were brought into parish churches to be blessed before work began the following day on ‘Plough Monday’. In days when work was scarce in winter, the observance looked forward to the time of sowing with the promise of a harvest to come.

The service was attended by civic dignitaries from across the region and was supported by The Yorkshire Agricultural Society, Yorkshire Young Farmers, Future Farmers of Yorkshire and Farming Help Charities and was organised in conjunction with the Yorkshire Rural Support Network. In his address Adam Bedford, North East Regional Director of the National Farmers Union spoke about the close links and support within farming communities and the many reasons to celebrate farming in Yorkshire.

Charles Mills, the YAS’s Show Director said: “The Plough Service at Ripon Cathedral provides a wonderful opportunity for farming families and those who appreciate the contribution of Yorkshire farming to our outstanding landscapes to come together at the beginning of a new year.”

The service was led by the Bishop of Huddersfield, the Rt Rev Jonathan Gibbs and Canon Barry Pyke who said: “The service was a great ecumenical celebration of farming and rural life bringing together many organisations and groups with a rural and farming focus throughout North Yorkshire. The service focussed on looking to the future in farming and featured ‘Future Farmers’ who told us stories of challenge and opportunities going forward into a post Brexit world.”

The Highside Longsword Dancers provided the entertainment before the service, with a display outside of a state of the art tractor and plough from Ripon Farm Services and a vintage machine courtesy of David Pearson. Hot pork rolls were served courtesy of Tancred Farmshop at Whixley.