Emily Davies

Exactly 50 years ago, the stench of burning animals became both a disgusting and unforgettable experience right here around Oswestry.

In autumn 1967, Nantmawr farmer Norman Ellis returned to his Bryn Farm, overlooking Llanyblodwel, when he noticed a sow he’d bought was lame. That triggered the cruellest ever foot and mouth outbreak, that saw 430,000 beasts from 2,300 farms in Shropshire and neighbouring counties slaughtered and burnt. It put Oswestry on the map for all the wrong reasons, as it rapidly spread and meant disinfectant dips outside all farms.

Norman and Megan Ellis ran the farm, now managed by their son Graham and his wife Anna. The day after spotting the lame pig on October 25, they watched their 89 cattle and 67 pigs destroyed. The authorities believed they had caught it ‘just in time’, but it spread first to the Ellis’s neighbour, then the neighbour’s neighbour.

In just a week 43 North Shropshire farms were hit. This very second week in November, half a century ago, 81 farms were affected and 16,000 animals slaughtered in just 24-hours. It was a very dark time in the dairy county’s future, ensuring we will never forget agriculture’s vulnerability - be it foot and mouth or tuberculosis.

Staff at Oswestry’s Bailey Head pub are seething.

Loading restrictions outside it start at 10am, so a brewer delivering parked beyond it and rolled his casks downhill. But, a traffic warden still ticketed him. Confrontations like this are frustrating, because beer has to be delivered to this award-winning pub, come what may!

Talented CAMRA stars Duncan and Grace Borrowman don’t plan to let this rest - and have taken the issue up with Shropshire Council. We’ll keep you posted.

Huge congratulations to Rod Evans, the plucky owner of Ellesmere’s ‘A Mere Cycle Hire and Sales’ who must have tortured himself in his week-long bid to raise more than £600 for the Midlands and Wales Air Ambulances.

He cycled all 300 miles from Conwy on the North Wales coast all the way to the South Wales coast, staying free in generous B&Bs. He became committed when his Gran would support both causes with a weekly donation. Well done Rod.

If you want to retrospectively support him visit his Facebook page or

We’re famous around here for not keeping our hands off roundabouts - and regulars will notice work started yesterday fiddling with the one at Halton, with a plan to continue till the end of January!

It’s to upgrade a waste water mains which run underneath the A5 - and I’m assured most of the work will be in nearby fields

What an intriguing Tizer letter from ‘R Davies’ last week, who witnessed three cars parking at Oswestry’s Minor Injury Unit at 8:30am on Oct 31.

All occupants packed into one car...and fled. It’s pretty obvious the MIU is being used as a free centralised starting point. Whether by its own staff or volunteers, 8-9am car-park monitoring is needed NOW!


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