Page last updated at 09:42 GMT, Sunday, 31 August 2008 10:42 UK

Sheep marched over London Bridge

Amanda Cottrell and sheep
Mrs Cottrell and the sheep were joined by her four-year-old grandson

A woman who was made a Freeman of the City of London last year has exercised her right to drive sheep across London Bridge to highlight two causes.

Amanda Cottrell, from Challock in Kent, was promoting attempts to raise 50m to restore Canterbury Cathedral and a scheme backing local food production.

Mrs Cottrell was joined by TV historian Dr David Starkey and family members including grandson Jack Regan, four.

The right of Freemen to drive sheep on the bridge dates from the 11th Century.

Mrs Cottrell, 67, a former High Sheriff of Kent, drove six New Romney rams from the City side to the south side of the river on Sunday morning.

"It was absolutely brilliant," she said.

"The sheep were impeccably behaved, it was really was an unusual, but I think, effective way of raising publicity about the two causes."

Deteriorating stonework

Mrs Cottrell was also accompanied by Viscount De L'Isle, whose family seat, Penshurst Place, is in the Weald of Kent.

She said it was the first time for about 10 years that the right to drive sheep across the bridge had been exercised.

The fundraising campaign to restore Canterbury Cathedral, started in 2006, has raised 7.5m so far.

Fundraisers have said deteriorating stonework and a leaking roof mean parts of the Kent cathedral might have to be closed unless the cash is raised.

The cathedral, which was founded by St Augustine in 597 and is visited by about a million people each year, has been damaged by age, pollution and World War II bombs.


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