At long, long, last we are taking our Parliamentary Petition to Westminster on the 28th February.

There have been delays for many reasons, all of which are too long to go into now - but we now have over 250,000 signatures to present to the Prime Minister and his colleagues. One of the reasons for our delay is that we have actually been waiting for Mr Blair to finish 'saving the world' and actually spend more than five and a half minutes in the country to which he was voted to 'lead' - and I use that term loosely!

It is not as many names as I would have liked, but I am afraid that we have faced two different enemies, Osama bin Laden is the first - his attack came one week after our launch and it was catastrophic for our cause, (but manna from heaven for Mr Blair), - as it took the attention right away from our door. The second is an affliction we all face at one time or another - complacency and inertia - but I hastily add to those who made the effort to collect the thousands of signatures - I cannot thank you enough.

The support and hard work has been awe-inspiring and I am very grateful to all the individuals, organisations and groups who worked tirelessly to raise the number of names to the fantastic amount we did collate. You all know who you are - and I really appreciate what you have done.

I am not too sure of the timings, (they have yet to be confirmed by Bill Cash MP's office)but the presentation is due to take place at St Stephens Gate - Westminster. As soon as I have them - I will forward them to you all.

I have one last favour to ask - I am looking for six strapping volunteers, all of whom have been affected by FMD in some way, to come and help me with a bit of lifting! We have a little plan up our sleeve to alert the media and maintain their interest - so if there is anyone who is willing to brave London for the day - dressed traditionally of course - i.e.. blacksmith - farmer - hotelier - herdsman - anything to do with the countryside - then I would be delighted to hear from you as soon as possible. If you would like to become involved, please email me and I will send you further details. It doesn't have to be, and certainly shouldn't be, just farmers - this has affected us all - so the wider the spectrum the better.

If anyone is interested in rallying some further troops of crowd support - and would like to come along to the 'ceremony' - please let me know and I will be delighted to send you the details, timings, etc.

Absolutely everyone is welcome!

Again, thankyou so much for your help - this would have never happened without you. Best wishes,

Sara Apsley

Lady Apsley Cirencester Park Glos. GL7 2BT 01285-653135 www.cirencesterpark.co.uk (still under some construction)