LANCASHIRE’S top Anglican church-man and a local Christian farmer had real reason to celebrate this year’s harvest - after a special Church of England prayer brought good weather and a bumper crop.
Acting Bishop of Blackburn, The Rt Rev John Goddard and Burnley farmer Jonathan Shorrock have hailed the success of the initiative earlier this year to pray for farming communities recovering from last year’s terrible weather conditions.
The bad weather of 2012 led to thousands of sheep and cattle being lost, and crops being sown weeks late, or ruined.
In April, the Church of England nationally called on Christians everywhere to pray for a better harvest in 2013, and issued a special prayer to help focus their thoughts.
With this year’s crop proving to be a great one in East Lancashire, and across the UK, the Rt Rev Goddard, also Bishop of Burnley, celebrated with a visit to Mr Shorrock, 46, at Dyneley Farm, in Cliviger.
Mr Shorrock, his wife and two sons worship at the nearby parish church – Holme-in-Cliviger with Worsthorne – with vicar Keith Henshall.
Bishop Goddard said: “I give thanks to God for our prayers being answered, and a much better result this year for hard-working farmers everywhere, not just in Lancashire.
“It is also important at this time we remember those who are less fortunate.
“And I would encourage every- one to donate generously to local foodbanks at this harvest time, as well as to my annual Harvest Appeal conducted through Lancashire churches and church schools.”
Mr Shorrock’s 1,250-acre livestock farm has been in his family for half a century, but it suffered greatly during 2012, and early in 2013, as a wet summer gave way to one of the worst winters in a generation.
Lambs were lost and hay supplies were low.
Mr Shorrock said: “Things have been so much better this year for us, and for other farmers, one of the best harvest seasons I can remember, in fact.
“Our stocks have been replenished after the difficult winter, thanks to an exceptional summer season, with just the right amount of rain and plenty of sunshine.
“In short, we are in a much better position now than I expected to be as 2013 dawned.”