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Canterbury Diocese defends National Trust in Cadbury Easter egg hunt row

By Rachael Woods

As children in Kent prepare for Easter egg hunts at National Trust properties, the organisation has been accused of "airbrushing faith".

The event, sponsored by Cadbury, was previously know as an Easter Egg Trail, but is now being billed as the Cadbury Great British Egg Hunt.

Smallhythe Place in Tenterden is one of a number of locations where the Easter egg hunt will take place in the county, with others including Chartwell in Westerham, Ightham Mote in Sevenoaks and Scotney Castle in Lamberhurst.

Egg hunt advertising omits the word Easter Credit: Cadbury
Egg hunt advertising omits the word Easter Credit: Cadbury

Tenterden vicar Canon Lindsay Hammond, expressed disappointment at the decision.

He said: “Of course the National Trust is free to keep or discard the word Easter as it thinks fit.

"But I am sorry that it has decided to drop Easter from its egg hunt announcements. Not because an egg hunt is particularly Christian in itself, but because the search for symbols of new life thereby becomes detached from the far richer Christian story of life that is new, exciting and of God."

Tenterden vicar Canon Lindsay Hammond
Tenterden vicar Canon Lindsay Hammond

The National Trust is facing a storm of criticism in the national media, with a Church of England spokesman accusing it of "airbrushing faith", but the Trust claims Cadbury is responsible for the re-branding of the egg hunt, while Cadbury said that there were other references to Easter in marketing material.

The Archbishop of York is quoted as saying that the Christian faith of Cadbury founder, John Cadbury - a Quaker - influenced his “industrial output” and that the omission of the word Easter is “tantamount to spitting on the grave of Cadbury".

The National Trust's Smallhythe Place
The National Trust's Smallhythe Place

But Anna Drew, director of communications for Canterbury Diocese defended the campaign because it contained "plenty of references to Easter".

She said: “We’re pleased to see plenty of references to Easter on the National Trust’s website.

"We’re delighted that people across Kent will be able to celebrate the joy and hope of Easter in our churches and at National Trust properties this springtime.”

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