Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Lewis tells Camilla harvest memory

Homeland star Damian Lewis described his harvest festival memories as he joined the Duchess of Cornwall and fellow actor Martin Clunes at a Westminster Abbey service.

Lewis, who leads the cast of the hit US show, said it was a "special time" and even joked with Camilla about collecting tins of beans for harvest festival at school .

And he revealed that, despite being one of the best-known faces on American and British TV screens, his young children are not allowed to watch the high-powered drama series.

Today's service was the first harvest festival to be held in the Abbey since 1966 and was staged as part of British Food Fortnight's campaign to rekindle the tradition of celebrating produce in the autumn.

Lewis read a new harvest poem written especially by BBC and Channel 4 sports poet Henry Birtles, while Clunes, who plays TV's Doc Martin and is a farmer himself, gave a Bible reading.

Lewis said afterwards: "I think the harvest festival service and the harvest time of year is very special - I remember it from when I was at school.

"There's an abundance, and there's great colour and produce - fruit and veg, as we've been talking about, and bread.

"It's a good way for children to have a tangible connection to faith, and actually to understand you can give thanks to something that they see every day on the table."

He was joined by his wife, actress Helen McCrory, and their two children, Manon, seven, and five-year-old Gulliver.

When the family were introduced to Camilla, Lewis told her: "We all took baked beans (to school)..

The Duchess asked his children: "Do you watch your dad on the telly, are you allowed to watch?"

Before they could answer, the actor replied: "No, certainly not."

More than 500 children from schools, Scout groups and Girl Guide companies attended the service after applying through a Harvest Lottery for Schools which was launched by the Duchess at the beginning of the summer term.

Some of the children presented boxes of food they had grown themselves and after the service Camilla met some of the youngsters.

In his address, the Bishop of London, the Right Rev Richard Chartres, joked about how living in a flat in the City of London meant he had "struggled" to grow produce as the "sun struggled to reach the growbags in our cobbled yard".

He said: "As we celebrate our harvest we must also remember people in parts of the world where there is drought and hardship. People who do not want handouts so much as they want help to bring in a harvest of their own."

Clunes is a passionate advocate of the countryside and owns a farm in West Dorset from where he runs Buckham Fair, a traditional countryside fair, and rears sheep and cows.

The actor said: "What's really nice about this is it tells these children, and reminds us all, that we've all got a place, t here's a delicate balance.

"I was in Kenya a few weeks ago and when you see what happens when the balance gets upset - you take a bit away and the whole thing falls down.

"We're just the same here. Our environment needs managing - that's called farming - and the more the children learn about that the better."

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph