1 March 2002

Cathedral prayers in shadow of F&M

By Wendy Owen North-east correspondent

PEOPLE from all over North Yorks were set to gather at Ripon Cathedral yesterday (Feb 28) in a service of remembrance and hope for those who suffered in the foot-and-mouth crisis.

The suspected case of F&M at Hawnby, just 18 miles from Ripon, served as a chilling reminder of the fear and devastation caused by the disease.

"People are still feeling pain after what they have been through," said Ripon Cathedrals Canon, Leslie Morley. "A lot of them have seen and done things they never envisaged and there has been a great deal of suffering in this region."

Among the speakers expected at the service was the Church of Englands national rural officer, Canon Jeremy Martineau.

He said that in the past, feelings of anger and frustration in the population had often resulted in social disorder. But families had also been much larger, which meant emotions could be shared.

"There will be some people whose anger will turn in on itself and produce despair inside if it is not allowed to be expressed in constructive ways.

"There will be some who have been reminded of the helplessness in the face of regulation or of being asked to staff a telephone line with inadequate preparation or information to give to callers.

"Some will have experienced broken relationships or a failed business. Others have fresh memories of a neighbour, friend or relative whose business has gone. Let us admit that as a nation we were unprepared for an epidemic.

"Our systems and resources were strained to breaking point – and they broke.

"Admitting our failings is essential to enable an honest, new start. Failure to admit leads to unfair blame of others. This has both political and personal truth in it." &#42

High calibre comfort… From Canon Leslie Morley at Ripon Cathedral.