A CENTURIES-old harvest tradition was carried out in a North Yorkshire town this weekend.

The First Fruits ceremony, carried out in Richmond Market Place, is believed to date from the middle ages, when people depended upon the success of each year's harvest.

On Saturday, Richmond's mayor, Councillor Russell Lord, in full civic regalia, led a procession consisting of the town banners, Richmond Town Pipes and Drums, led by pipe major Barry Waldron, the Freedom Sword, carried by a cadet officer, the two town halbardiers and the two town mace bearers.

The procession went from the town hall to the Trinity Tower curtilage.

During the First Fruits ceremony, a sample of newly-threshed grain was tested by local miller Bill Meynell, who said that it was an average crop.

Sherry was handed out to the public, who toasted the coming harvest.

Coun Lord said: "The day went very well and there was a good turnout by the public.

"It's a very old tradition and one that we try and keep running.

"You get harvest festivals in churches but it's quite unusual to see one where there is a civic procession."