20 March 1998

Theyll be giving it loads of wellie down Brecknock way

A group of farmers wives

plans to make Sat, Mar 21

Brecknock Wellie Day.

Robert Davies explains

NO AREA has been hit harder than the old county of Brecknock by the crisis in the livestock industry, so nobody was surprised when almost 100 farmers wives attended a meeting and decided to campaign in support of their husbands and families.

They formed nine sub-groups, each with a co-ordinator, to cover every part of the county. A telephone message system was established to tell supporters when butchers, hotels, restaurants, caterers and retailers were to be urged to sell and serve British food.

"Our aim has always been to raise public awareness of the quality of home produced food, and the terrible crisis that is threatening family farms and the whole rural economy," says Betty Protheroe, co-ordinator for the Upper Chapel area.

Though some were asked to leave a Sainsbury store, members of what is known locally as "the petticoat army" have been generally well received. Now they intend to target the Minister of Agriculture, Jack Cunningham, who they feel is ignoring the industrys plight.

Because they believe that there is no future in farming for many of their children, they now intend to post their kiddies wellington boots to Dr Cunningham, each pair accompanied by a letter from the child. An open invitation has been issued to any farming mothers to bring wellies, notes and donations towards postage to Brecon Post Office at 2.00pm on Mar 21.

The organisers children have already provided boots and letters. Eluned Gatehouse, 12, whose parents run sheep and pedigree Herefords near Crickhowell, has decided to send a poem.

Thank you Mr Cunningham

Your name really says it all,.

Youve done your best to scheme and plan

Farmings lonely fall.

Your title is a joke

A lot of help youve been to us,

Now our livelihoods up in smoke.

Thank you Mr Cunningham

For putting pay to our dreams,

Now we have no need for wellies

Farmings dead it seems.

Thank you Mr Cunningham

How do you sleep at night?

Keep on trying to tread us down

But we are not going without a fight!

Eluned Gatehouse (12) has penned a verse to accompany the wellington boots and express her frustration.

No childs wellies will be safe in Brecknock tomorrow (Mar 21) when a group of farmers wives post their protest to the Minister of Agriculture and alert him to their concern about the future of their children.