Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Charles Donates [Pound]500,000 to Help Beleaguered Farmers

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Charles Donates [Pound]500,000 to Help Beleaguered Farmers

Article excerpt

Byline: PATRICK SAWER;JOHN STURGIS

PRINCE CHARLES is to give [pound]500,000 to help farmers stricken by the foot-and-mouth crisis in a personal intervention to bolster the beleaguered countryside. The donation comes as Agriculture Minister Nick Brown prepares to outline plans for the pre-emptive slaughter of up to 100,000 disease-free sheep in a bid to stop the spread of the disease.

The Prince of Wales, who has had the virus reported on one of his tenanted farms on Dartmoor, told Mr Brown of his personal donation when they met at St James's Palace to discuss the outbreak. "I want to do everything I can to help these farmers and their families keep their heads above water," the prince said. "They need immediate financial help to ease this hardship which is why I am donating money from my own charitable foundation to three charities which give this kind of support.

"This outbreak is also imposing severe stress and anxiety on many individuals and families. There can be no doubt that the risk of suicides among rural communities is heightened. Having someone to talk to who understands the problems can make all the difference."

The Prince's comments followed news that one farmer has already committed suicide because of the crisis.

Brain Oakley, 54, a father of two from the Powys-Shropshire border, was clinically depressed for two years over BSE and falling prices and is said to have hanged himself after being "tipped over the edge" by the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

The plans for a "pre-emptive strike" on sheep that may have come into contact with infected animals were welcomed by the National Farmers Union as the virus tightened its grip, with the disease spreading to Cheshire for the first time.

There were 26 new outbreaks yesterday, the highest daily total so far, bringing the overall figure to 231. …

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