Tuesday 4 April 2017

PM Condemns National Trust For Axing 'Easter' From Egg Hunt

National Trust

Theresa May has condemned the National Trust for omitting the word “Easter” from its annual children’s egg hunt, saying she was furious both as the daughter of a vicar and as a National Trust member.

Church leaders criticised the National Trust for “airbrushing” Christianity out of its chocolate egg hunt, after a rebrand led to the renaming of the “Easter Egg Trail” as the “Great British Egg Hunt”.

In a surprisingly robust response, the prime minister said it was wrong to have scrapped any mention of the Christian festival.

“I’m not just a vicar’s daughter, I’m a member of the National Trust as well,” she told ITV during a visit to Amman, Jordan. “I think the stance they have taken is absolutely ridiculous. I don’t know what they are thinking about frankly.”

Cadbury, which sponsors the event, told the Telegraph it had also wanted the event to appeal to non-Christians, saying: “We invite people from all faiths and none to enjoy our seasonal treats.”

However, the prime minister said the National Trust had not understood the importance of the festival. “Easter’s very important. It’s important to me,” she said. “It’s a very important festival for the Christian faith for millions across the world. So I think what the National Trust is doing is frankly just ridiculous.”

The archbishop of York said the decision to omit “Easter” from the egg hunt was “tantamount to spitting on the grave of [John] Cadbury” – the chocolate company’s founder.

The National Trust said: “It’s nonsense to suggest the National Trust is downplaying the significance of Easter. Nothing could be further from the truth. We host a huge programme of events, activities and walks to bring families together to celebrate this very special time of year. A casual glance at our website will see dozens of references to Easter throughout.”

The trust said Cadbury had been running its Easter egg hunts for 10 years. It added: “As part of its wider marketing activity at Easter, Cadbury will always lead on the branding and wording for its campaigns.”

Cadbury said: “It is simply not true to claim that Easter does not feature in our marketing communications or on our products. It is clear to see that within our communications we visibly state the word Easter. It is included a number of times across promotional materials, including our website easter.cadbury.co.uk and even embossed on many of the eggs themselves.

“Our Easter egg packaging also carries the word Easter and these products are only available at this special time of year. Our Easter partnership with the National Trust is also synonymous with Easter, and we make it clear throughout materials that it is an egg hunt, for families, at Easter.

“We want to reassure consumers of our commitment to Easter, which is very prominent within our activity. We will continue to use ‘Easter’ prominently in our commercial campaigns as we do now and in the future.”

The row comes as the Church of England is increasingly concerned about the marginalisation of religion in the public sphere.

In 2015, a 60-second Christmas advert that showed people saying the Lord’s prayer as they went about daily business was banned by leading cinemas in the UK on the grounds that it may carry “the risk of upsetting, or offending, audiences”.

Last month, the C of E condemned a European court of justice ruling that allowed employers to ban workers from wearing religious symbols or clothing at work.

Arun Arora, the C of E’s director of communications, said: “In a pluralistic society, the church – along with everyone else – should have a stall in the marketplace for its ideas.”



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