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7:30am Morning Prayer
8:00am Eucharist
8:30am Doors open for sightseeing
12:30pm Eucharist
2:00pm Cathedral Art Tour
4:00pm Last entry for sightseeing
5:00pm Choral Evensong

A taste of the countryside comes to St Paul's

To mark the beginning of the agricultural year, St Paul's played host to some of the most modern farming machinery and livestock on Wednesday, January 16.

Coming just three days after the traditional Plough Sunday, celebrated across the country, the Cathedral helped bring a little of the countryside to the City, to act as a reminder to the people of London where their food comes from, and to profile the work of the Addington Fund, an important farming charity.

From 7am until dusk, City workers and Cathedral visitors were able to see, up-close, some of the state-of-the art machinery used in today's farming, including a full-size New Holland combine harvester and three tractors. Livestock, including sheep, goats and poultry were outside the Cathedral, having come from the Surrey Docks Farm.

There were a number of give-aways, including by M&S, and representation from bodies such as NFU Mutual, NFU, CLA, Strutt and Parker, Home Grown Cereals Authority, Farm Crisis Network, RABI and Princes Country Side Trust.

The special day coincided with the Addington Fund revealing details of a new emergency relief fund, being set up to help farmers who are struggling to feed their animals after one of the worst harvests on record. Sheep farmers are being especially hard hit with the start of the lambing season now getting under way, shadowed by depressed market prices due to the ongoing financial crisis in Europe.

Ian Bell, Director of the Addington Fund, said: "We see major problems ahead. Thousands of acres are still under water which means farmers have been unable to plant next year's crops.

"This was an opportunity to showcase farming for many people who have little idea about the real cost of their food, which we all take for granted."

At 5pm, there was a service of Evensong to mark the day, at which John Reynolds, Master of the Worshipful Company of Farmers and Peter Kendall, President of the National Farmers' Union participated.

The Reverend Canon Michael Hampel, Precentor of St Paul's Cathedral said: "We were delighted to welcome the farming community into the heart of the City and to see exactly where the food we pick up in the local supermarket comes from and to understand the human skill which lies behind the production of our lunchtime sandwich."