The Weeping Willow Memorial

On a beautifully warm and sunny afternoon in Cumbria today, Anne Hopper of Radio Cumbria, ably assisted by the Lady Mayor, planted a weeping willow tree in the grounds in front of Heatherington's auction mart at Rosehill, Carlisle as a symbol of spring and new life for the future of everyone who suffered through the 2001 FMD outbreak. Anne Hopper said that she hoped that a line could be now be drawn under the whole event but feels that this could still be a long way off. Much emphasis was given to the fact that the willow was deciduous and would signal rebirth every spring. A prayer was also said in remembrance of the animals lost. Thanks were then given to Moira Linaker for all her efforts in organising the event. Both Anne Hopper and the Mayor were presented with a bunch of daffodils and a soft toy lamb by way of thanks.

The event was later shown on Border TV news alongside Nick Brown being interviewed at the EU Inquiry.

Before the tree planting, some of us were fortunate to be invited to Moira's house to meet her wonderful Ryeland sheep that she had fought so hard to keep from the contiguous cull. Two of her ewes had recently had lambs and Moira and Anne Hopper were interviewed in their midst by Radio Cumbria. It was quite funny to see their soundman following a tiny three day old lamb around the enclosure attempting to get its comments on the occasion....but he finally got the bleat he wanted in the end. Ryeland lambs look like they have little furry leggings on and were dozing in the glorious sunshine today. The last lambs I saw of this size were taken up a field and shot this time last year. Last year spring was stolen from us and today made up for that loss.

It was lovely to meet Mr Universe, Moira's famous Ryeland tup, but today he was "naked" having been clipped recently. He was still absolutely huge and a real friendly fella.

Julian Thurgood was present to record the event and will be posting photographs on the Heart of Cumbria site as soon as possible. www.heartofcumbria.com Elaine