The Health and Social Consequences of the 2001 Foot and Mouth Epidemic in North Cumbria
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Panel member evaluation

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diary extract

We include here a small selection of those responses:

1.What for you has been the importance of recording your thoughts and experiences over this time?

It has made me observe and think about how incidents can affect other people in society, not just yourself directly. Example the present war in Iraq, what will be the aftermath worldwide and for the Iraqi people.

Personally I haven’t felt a great urge to record things but I think it’s very important that someone (i.e. all of you) has looked into the human side of the outbreak and its effects, so I’m very willing to help

It gave you the opportunity to really think about what you went through. Those farmers who did not get the disease did not know what others went through.

It has been a chance to reflect on what happened, to look to the future and to recognise the frustration and anger.

Being able to pass on my thoughts and experiences to others

To help in any way possible to improve the management of support if there was another similar type outbreak. I think that it has encouraged me to continue to ask questions of customers and friends how they are getting on during and after the outbreak.

2. Has the process of diary keeping helped clarify things about your experience of 2001 and its aftermath?

Yes, it definitely has! At first I wasn’t quite sure how I would write my diaries, but it has definitely been useful and has made me more aware of what was going on around me. It has been interesting.

Yes and No! I tend to quickly forget about the past and only look forward, always looking on the positive side. (EVERY CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING

It made you realise what you took for granted – farmers are (crossed out) were used to doing what they wanted to do in the day. During 2001 and after you had to do what DEFRA and its regulations allowed.

It has helped me stop and look at the future, and what I want to be doing in the future, or maybe helped provoke my mid-life crisis.

Yes it makes one think back when it would have been easier to bury one’s head in the sand and forget all about it.

Mostly people have tried to move on and it is very rarely mentioned.
Yes it has. It has also made me think more about the things that other people went through, that were more directly affected by FMD than I was .

I think that I really feel that most of the killing was unnecessary – a rape of our farms and farmers lives nothing can ever put that right – it will be with those affected forever.

It’s made me think even more how fortunate we, as a retail business in Cumbria have been.

3. Have you enjoyed writing the diary or has it felt like a chore? What has kept you going with diary-keeping over the past year/18 months?

I have enjoyed writing the diaries, some have been happier than others, but I have got quite used to writing them, and sitting down and reflecting on the previous weeks.

On the whole it’s not been a chore, but as I said above I think it’s an important thing to do which has helped when I’ve not really felt like writing it

Yes, it has made me start keeping a personal diary with a view to leaving it for the family history. My life is run from a diary re appointments, but this is a little extra. It has been no chore. Pleasure!

Sometimes I have quite enjoyed doing diary other times it has been a pain in the arse!

Although I enjoyed writing the diary it was often a chore making the time to do so. But I never regretted getting involved with the project. The importance of the ongoing effects of FMD were paramount to my keeping the diary for 18 months and also as an acknowledgement

4. There has been a small payment for members’ participation – has this helped? In what way?

This has come to help over the past few months! This is not the reason I wrote the diaries, as it was a worthwhile project anyway, but with only being able to earn a little, this has been a good way of doing that.

I did not like to receive money for this, but as indicated in my diaries I put it to good use

Yes it has. It was nice to receive the cash. I tended to use it for a treat – e.g. buying some flowers, magazine etc – something for me.

Very much indeed! There have been many times when I have been, quite honestly on the thin line and grateful for small mercies.

Does not come into it but yes it has been very nice and quite a welcome bit of pocket money for my labours but it would still have been done if there had been no payment but it has helped keep me going

I have given all my payments to charities. So you have helped a children’s ward in Malawi and other charities. I am grateful for this.

5. Have you shared the diary with your family or has it been private?

It has to be an open document.

I have shared the fact that I write these diaries with my family, but usually write them and keep them to myself. My mother has been very helpful in collecting newspapers and articles for me.

My ordinary diary is a family one but this one I kept to myself.

I have kept my diary private.

An “open” document but not as yet read by anyone else.

No it has been private. I felt I was more true to myself if I wrote it alone.

6. Did you keep a diary before taking part in the research, has it encouraged you to continue?

No I did not keep a diary before this research, but I have enjoyed it! I like collecting bits and pieces to remind me of things, so perhaps a diary in the future may be a good idea!

No, I did not before, but I am now keeping a more detailed diary of my life and people around me.

No but I would like to see myself carrying on in some form. It was very good in many ways especially clarifying what was important to do and concentrate on.

7. How did you feel about:a) Being interviewed for the project? b) Being visited by your researcher?

A bit upset at the time but fine afterwards. Good to talk to someone who understands even now 2 yrs on.

Not alone! Helped!

I was a bit nervous at first, but then fine! I do not mind this at all! I have got used to it and it is part of my month, together with writing the diaries. It is also good to keep you updated with project.

I enjoyed being interviewed it was very evocative in revisiting F&M and like all humans having someone’s attention was a positive experience! Enjoyed (researcher’s) visits and they helped motivate me to keep up to date with my diary.

8. Please write here anything you would like to add

I feel after the meetings I have got a better understanding of other people who were involved with F&M. I feel I am a bit of an odd-ball, as I was not affected by F&M to any great extent. By nature I don’t worry a lot, but I find it frustrating finding others close to me getting into problems, but if they won’t help themselves what can I do?

I’ve enjoyed the experience very much and would like to take part in other projects

Thanks for the opportunities.

I hope this has helped with understanding what people went through and hopefully if it ever happens again people will be more understanding about the pressure that everyone has been under.

It was great to hear other people’s experiences especially others who aren’t connected with farming and agriculture. No one talks about F&M openly now, but it’s still important in how people are being affected.

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