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Recollections from Foot and Mouth

You may be surprised to learn of my association with the Foot and Mouth outbreak, indeed It could be said that I am often opening my mouth and putting my foot in it !! but in these difficult days of Coronavirus my mind went back to 1967 and my association with the devastating Foot and Mouth disease for farmers when cattle became infected and whole herds killed. There were 2364 outbreaks in all, and I remember it being a very dark time for farmers and those working in the food chain. At the time I had just started work as a Clerical Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture and on Christmas Eve I was dropped off to spend the whole day at the start of a major footpath to Froggatt Edge to stop walkers crossing land and on Boxing day I was posted outside a remote farm which had been infected. I remember it well because I spent most of the day sheltering in a telephone box due to heavy rain! The sight of cattle stacked up was awful. Obviously, what we are facing is far more frightening with a disease that kills human beings across the world but the sudden trauma, loss of livelihood and sheer emotional strain on those involved was immense. What we are now seeing today is in far, far greater proportions and is hardly comparable. However, I think back to that day and me sitting looking out from that spot near Froggatt Edge across the hills and Psalm 121 comes to mind

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord watches over you— the Lord is your shade at your right hand; 6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; 8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Martin Jackaman

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