Disease thwarts farmer’s Palace trip

A former Welsh Woman Farmer of the Year has been forced to cancel collecting her OBE because of foot-and-mouth disease.

Margaret Dalton, 63, said she called off her trip to Buckingham Palace on Friday because she feared spreading the disease.

Mrs Dalton, who runs a 320-acre hill farm at Llangybi, near Lampeter, also said she could not bear to leave the business at such a critical time.

She was expected to be entertained at the Palace after collecting the honour for services to agriculture and the community.

Instead, Mrs Dalton spent the day checking her 100 cows and 450 ewes for signs of foot-and-mouth.

“It seemed as if I would have been making light of something very serious,” she said.

“I was going to be enjoying myself when everybody around here was thinking about where the next case of foot-and-mouth was going to be.”

Mrs Dalton has run the farm single-handedly for 25 years.

She added: “I didn’t want to leave the farm because, should anything have gone wrong, where would I have been but gallivanting around London?

“This crisis is the final straw for a lot of people. To see all your life’s work go up in flames – it’s more than I could bear.”

The appointment has been postponed until a later date.

The outbreak has also forced the closure of the Aberglasney Gardens near Carmarthen.

The gardens are usually open for the first Sunday of every month during winter, but will now have to re-open on April 1.

Current situation

There have been three confirmed cases of foot-and-mouth disease in Wales – at Gaerwen on Angelssey, Painscastle near Hay-on-Wye, and Felindre near Newtown.

The burning of stock at Caerwen and Painscastle began on Saturday night.

Another 15 cases are being investigated – 10 in Gaerwen, and others in Torfaen, Radnorshire, Montgomeryshire, Monmouth and Painscastle.

Results of tests from Gaerwen are expected back Monday or Tuesday.

More cases were confirmed in England on Sunday, bringing the total number of UK cases to 60.