A Service to Celebrate the 150th Anniversary of The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution
Wednesday, 24th February 2010
HRH The Duke of Gloucester attended a service to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) at Westminster Abbey on Wednesday 24th February at 12 noon.
RABI was founded on 7 February 1860 after an initiative from a City of London businessman Joseph Mechi who realised that farmers, facing a time of considerable uncertainty following the repeal of the Corn Laws, had no organisation to help them if they became destitute.
Last year RABI paid out close to £2 million to over 1500 members of the farming community.
The service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, who said in his Bidding: ‘As we hear the testimonies of those involved in the work of RABI, we shall look to the future by dedicating a standard that will be held aloft as a sign of the need and of the work.’
The RABI Standard was dedicated in the Lantern after RABI’s royal charter was borne through the Abbey church to the High Altar.
HRH The Duke of Gloucester read 2 Corinthians 9: 6-15 and James Chapman, Vice Chairman of the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Club, read Psalm 104.
The Address was given by the Right Reverend John Oliver, Honorary Chaplain and Trustee of RABI.
Testimonies were given by Mary Kenward and John Wyatt.
Prayers were led by The Reverend Ralph Godsall, Priest Vicar of Westminster Abbey; the Reverend Dr Stuart Burgess Rural Advocate and Chair of the Commission for Rural Communities; Lise Venthen, Head of Fundraising, Marketing and Communications, RABI; David Chantler, Chairman of the RABI Kent County Committee; Andrew Densham, Chairman of RABI; and Helen Roberts, Chairman of the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs.
The service was sung by the Westminster Abbey Special Service Choir conducted by Robert Quinney, Sub Organist. The organ was played by James McVinnie, Assistant Organist.