Harvest Festival service

I was very moved at last week's Harvest Festival service at Ampney St Mary
near Cirencester. Janet Bayley and I were honoured guests at this small
farming village in the Gloucestershire - and I was asked to give the
address.

I felt very humble standing there in the pulpit of this beautifully
decorated tiny church, candlelit for evensong, with ancient faded frescos
just showing on the walls - the pews were comfortably filled and I wondered
what I would say - I felt they all knew so much more about farming and
agricultural life than I did.

But I spoke of  who we are, of how we came together over FMD, many of us on
the internet, and how we were drawn into the first standoff at Oaklands
Park, and then in the Forest of Dean - familiar territory to many of the
congregation.  I spoke of the remarkable achievements and of what we still
need to achieve, and I added some personal comments of what drew me
personally into feeling  that we could not let this go - above the cruelty
and suffering of the animals - how I have spent 18 months of my life seeing
the cruelty to people that has made strong silent Englishmen, normally the
last bastions of the 'stiff upper lip' brigade, break down and cry in public
every time I have been to any kind of event   -  these people who would
never cry, not even at funerals.  This is still one of the most heart
wrenching things I have ever seen.

And, as I drew to a close, I realised that there has also been a different 
side - that this past 18 months has been such a positive and uplifting
experience - to have found people who selflessly worked together doing
whatever they could to help. I told of how whenever we needed someone with a
certain skill one would almost miraculously appear - how people would step
forward to ease the burdens and support each other  - and how that enabled
me to carry on despite the difficulties and obstacles in our way.

Afterwards Janet and I were asked to stand at the church door to greet
people on the way out and so many stopped to talk and thank us for coming -
we were overwhelmed with the reaction - so many people had not realised
quite how much of this activity had taken place so near by.

Our grateful thanks to the vicar, Annette Woolcock for inviting us to Ampney
St Mary - it was a very moving occasion.

Here is a copy of the notes we handed out to the congregation.


THE NATIONAL FOOT & MOUTH GROUP
Co-ordinating Office:  3 The Common, Siddington
Cirencester, Glos.   GL7 6EY

Janet Bayley -  01285 644319// 01285 656812
janbayley@aol.com
Valerie Lusmore - 01291 623071  val_lusmore@hotmail.com

What we have achieved

1. Assisted many farmers all over the UK  to save their animals from the
contiguous cull - took legal advice and then created Help Packs for farmers
and ran a telephone help line and an internet discussion group

2. Given evidence to all the enquiries into Foot and Mouth 2001 - in
particular have drawn up a Vaccination Policy that has been recommended for
acceptance by the Royal Society scientific enquiry.

What we still need to do:

We need to continue to campaign to stop the Animal Health Bill which is not
founded on substantive scientific or empirical data and information

We need access to the actual epidemiological data about Foot and Mouth which
can be independently and honestly analysed so that there will be Lessons
Learned;  preferably we need  a proper independent and transparent public
enquiry.

We need sustainable agriculture and food production which protects the
unique countryside of the UK and ensures the survival of a rich and diverse
environment, a thriving rural economy and dynamic communities. This must
address the complex and inter-related nature of farming, tourism and rural
businesses as well as rural life.  The countryside is our most vital
resource - we cannot afford to squander it.

We will continue to work to ensure that nothing like the horrific barbaric
experience of FMD UK 2001 ever happens again.



For more information,  the website   
www.warmwell.com archives both the
press articles, scientific papers, and news of what we have worked on.

For those who suffered a financial loss during Foot and Mouth there are
details on the UK Rural Business Campaign on 
www.classlaw.co.uk   or 
www.ukrbc.co.uk.


If you would like to help, or to know more, please do not hesitate to get in
touch with us.

AMPNEY ST MARY Harvest Festival 29th September 2002