PR teams are scrambled over egg row

07 April 2017

DIOCESE Of SOUTHWELL & NOTTINGHAM

In hand: pupils from Holy Trinity CE infants school, Southwell, with Real Easter Eggs

In hand: pupils from Holy Trinity CE infants school, Southwell, with Real Easter Eggs

A CHURCH critique of the National Trust’s annual Easter egg-hunt has attracted both criticism and support.

The Telegraph reported on Tuesday that the event was being marketed on the charity’s website as the “Cadbury Egg hunt”. It had previously been described as the “National Trust Easter Egg Trail Supported by Cadbury”.

A spokesperson for the C of E drew on the heritage of Cadbury to criticise the decision: “This marketing campaign not only does a disservice to the Cadburys but also highlights the folly in airbrushing faith from Easter.”

The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, also cited the company’s history: “To drop Easter from Cadbury’s Easter Egg Hunt in my book is tantamount to spitting on the grave of Cadbury. Maybe everyone should now buy The Real Easter Egg.”

The Prime Minister, at present in Saudi Arabia, was drawn in. “I’m not just a vicar’s daughter: I’m a member of the National Trust as well,” Theresa May told ITV News.

“I think the stance they’ve taken is absolutely ridiculous, and I don’t know what they’re thinking about. Easter’s very important. It’s important to me; 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 Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, remarked: “I think it’s commercialisation gone a bit too far. It upsets me, because I don’t think Cadbury’s should take over the name.”

Esther McConnell, a descendant of John Cadbury, tweeted in response: “I’m sure John Cadbury (my g. g. g. g. grandfather) is not spinning in his grave. As a Quaker, he didn’t celebrate Easter.”

A few hours after the Telegraph story was published, the Trust’s website changed, from “Join the Cadbury Egg Hunts” to “Join the Cadbury Egg Hunts this Easter.”

In a letter to the Telegraph on Wednesday, the director-general of the National Trust, Helen Ghosh, a Roman Catholic, said that it was “ridiculous to suggest the National Trust would want to airbrush Easter. As a charity with heritage at our core, we are proud that millions of families celebrate at our places at this time of year. Easter is mentioned 13,000 times on our website alone.”

A spokesperson for Cadbury said that its Easter campaigns had a different name each year. “It is simply not true to claim that Easter does not feature in our marketing communications or on our products.”

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