Easter egg hunt ‘spits on the grave of Cadbury’ - Archbishop

Theresa May criticises ‘ridiculous’ decision to ‘airbrush’ Christianity out of event

The Church of England has become embroiled in a row with chocolate giant Cadbury and the National Trust over an Easter egg hunt.

The Church of England has become embroiled in a row with chocolate giant Cadbury and the National Trust over an Easter egg hunt.

 

The Church of England has become embroiled in a row with chocolate giant Cadbury and the National Trust over an Easter egg hunt.

Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu accused the chocolate giant of “spitting on the grave” of its religious founder by removing references to Christianity’s most sacred festival from the spring event it runs nationwide with the conservation charity.

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”.

Cadbury, which was founded by Quaker John Cadbury in 1824, told the Telegraph “we invite people from all faiths and none to enjoy our seasonal treats”.

The National Trust said that suggestions it was downplaying the significance of Easter were “nonsense”.

Some 300 Easter egg hunts will take place this year at National Trust properties, according a page on the Cadbury website headlined “enjoy Easter fun”.

Archbishop Sentamu told the Telegraph: “If people visited Birmingham today in the Cadbury World they will discover how Cadbury’s Christian faith influenced his industrial output.

“He built houses for all his workers, he built a church, he made provision for schools.

“It is obvious that for him Jesus and justice were two sides of the one coin.

“To drop Easter from Cadbury’s Easter Egg Hunt in my book is tantamount to spitting on the grave of Cadbury.”

British prime minister Theresa May weighed in on the row, saying she was furious both as the daughter of a vicar and as a National Trust member.

In a surprisingly robust response, Ms May 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.”

Ms May 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.”

Cadbury’s website makes reference to Easter in relation to the hunt in several places, but the word does not feature on the logo for the event.

The National Trust website invites people to “Join the Cadbury Egg Hunts” before saying: “Join us over the Easter holidays to run through muddy woodlands, around mystical lakes and along nature trails on a Cadbury Egg Hunt.”

A spokesman for the 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.

“Our Easter events include our partnership with Cadbury’s, which has been running Easter egg hunts with us for 10 years.

“They’ve proved consistently popular with our members and visitors. As part of its wider marketing activity at Easter, Cadbury’s will always lead on the branding and wording for its campaigns.”

PA/Guardian