Writtle University College celebrated the 2018 harvest and its 125th anniversary with a community celebration.
The event – held on Sunday 30 September – was part of Bishop of Chelmsford Stephen Cottrell’s Missionary Journey to Chelmsford Cathedral for the County Harvest Thanksgiving Service.
Visitors were able to see how Writtle has changed from its inception as an agricultural college in 1893 through to the wider portfolio of courses it offers today.
One of its newest courses is the Cycling Performance Foundation Degree and Sunday also saw the first road race held from the campus with the University College’s partners the highly-successful Essex-based cycling team OnForm. Winners of the race, which was part of the Eastern Road Race League, were presented with beautiful bouquets made by WUC’s Floristry department.
Visitors to the 125th anniversary celebration could see farming technology old and new, with WUC’s agricultural partners Crawfords loaning high tech farming equipment which was set alongside an historic plough and early model Massey Ferguson tractor.
People could try out a climbing wall - provided by WUC partner Essex Outdoors - tour the stunning gardens and learn about equine and small animal care. They could test out their floristry skills by creating a button-hole arrangement, take a selfie using a floral selfie frame, or try out needle felting or lino-cut printing.
As part of the event, Bishop Stephen planted a Crab Apple tree to mark the 125th anniversary of Writtle University College before enjoying a locally-sourced harvest soup and bread.
Professor Tim Middleton, Vice-Chancellor, said: “WUC plays an important role in the development of the county's food and faming businesses through its professional college and university courses, and highly-regarded Continuing Professional Development programmes. We were delighted to be part of the 2018 Harvest Festival which celebrated the work of farmers and food producers in our region who work day in, day out to put great Essex food on our tables.”
Bishop Stephen, the Bishop of Colchester Roger Morris, the Archdeacon of Stansted Robin King, and Rural Adviser & Agricultural Chaplain Janet Nicholls, enjoyed tours of the campus, being involved in the activities, and meeting with staff and students as well as members of Essex Agricultural Society.
Revd Janet Nicholls, who brought the National Harvest Torch to the event, said: “Before leaving on the last leg of his Harvest Missionary Walk to Chelmsford Cathedral, the Bishop of Chelmsford planted a commemorative tree and praised the university college for its role in preparing highly-skilled and innovative farmers of the future.”