THE Malvern Gazette's October farming supplement in 1967 was predicting a bright future for the industry in the following year, but a month later the area had fallen victim to foot and mouth disease.

You don't get the same sense of crisis from reading the Malvern Gazette as seems to surround the current outbreak.

That is partly because the nature of the media has changed, being much more interested these days in how people are affected by events, but also because there had been no serious outbreak of the disease for many years.

The first reaction to the disease in the Gazette was the decision of the Malvern and District Motor Cycle and Light Car Club to cancel its trials events at Castlemorton. Malvern United Angling Club closed its water and the North Ledbury, Croome and Worcestershire Hunts suspended their meets.

But by no means all events were being cancelled. The Malvern Cage Bird Society held a very successful show at the Winter Gardens which drew competitors from all over the country.

There were seven early outbreaks in Worcestershire, originating on a farm in Spetchley and spreading from there, which involved the slaughter of 2,495 pigs, 1,150 sheep and 428 cattle.

Restrictions on animal movements in the area were imposed, and a Welland farmer was fined £10 for moving his cows across a road, but other restrictions appear not to have been so draconian.

Following representations from concerned Castlemorton residents, Malvern Hills Conservators put up notices 'requesting' people to keep off commons which had carried stock. Kempsey Common had been closed and people from Worcester were coming from Castlemorton to walk their dogs.

Conservators' clerk, Col. E. Whatley, said: "We can't stop people walking on the commons, but we can request them not to do it."

Prayers were said for farmers at St Peter's Church, Malvern Wells.

The one piece of good news was the decision of the Queen to visit the Three Counties Show in 1968, the first visit to the show by a reigning monarch.

The Queen made a point of speaking to farmers who had lost stock during the foot and mouth epidemic.

She had a special word of congratulation for David Bentley, a Spetchley farmer who had re-stocked after losing 255 cattle, sheep and pigs but had gained a Reserve Champion award in the Dairy Shorthorn section.

You never know, perhaps Her Majesty might be persuaded to repeat her visit this year?