Theresa May has joined the Archbishop of York in condemning an “absolutely ridiculous” decision to drop the word Easter from a Cadbury and National Trust egg hunt.
The Archbishop criticised the chocolate giant after it emerged that this year’s Easter campaign in conjunction ith the Trust is called the “Cadbury’s Great British Egg Hunt”.
Some 300 Easter egg hunts will take place this year at National Trust properties.
Mrs May said: “I’m not just a vicar’s daughter - I’m a member of the National Trust as well.
“I think the stance they have taken is absolutely ridiculous. I don’t know what they are thinking about frankly.
“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.”
Dr John Sentamu accused the chocolate giant of “spitting on the grave” of its religious founder by removing references to Easter from the the spring event it runs nationwide.
Cadbury, which was founded by Quaker John Cadbury in 1824, told the Daily 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” while the chocolate firm dismissed the archbishop’s claim as “simply not true”.
Dr Sentamu told the Daily Telegraph: “To drop Easter from Cadbury’s Easter Egg Hunt in my book is tantamount to spitting on the grave of Cadbury.”
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 adding: “Join us over the Easter holidays to run through muddy woodlands, around mystical lakes and along nature trails on a Cadbury Egg Hunt.”
A National Trust spokesman 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.”
A Cadbury spokeswoman said: “It is simply not true to claim that we have removed the word ‘Easter’ from our marketing and communication materials.
“Each year our Easter campaigns have a different name and this year our seasonal campaign is called the Cadbury’s Great British Egg Hunt.
“It is clear to see that within our communications and marketing we clearly state the word Easter and include it in a number of promotional materials, including our website, where we do also promote our partnership with National Trust at this seasonal time of year.”