A SURPRISE birth helped make a harvest festival celebration truly special at the weekend.

Held in an orchard at Hayes Farm in St Michaels, near Tenbury Wells, by kind permission of Will and Sam Davies, the St Michael's family service really got into the spirit on October 8.

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Hay bales were set out in a broad circle, together with a few chairs for those who preferred, around an altar crowned with hops and providing somewhere to place gifts of food.

Everyone had been asked to bring food and the service had been timed for 11.30am, making it perfect for a picnic lunch, while Pianist Jan Holloway, brought along a keyboard to accompany the hymns which were sung heartily by over thirty attendees.

"Add to this the glorious weather and the fact that during the service a cow gave birth within sight, and it all added up to a very special day, especially for the youngsters," said Parochial Church Council vice-chairman Tony Penn.