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Tuesday, 29 January, 2002, 06:52 GMT
Palace reception for farm disease victims
Prince Charles in Brecon
The Prince spoke to farmers in Brecon on Monday
Twenty-five people from Wales who were severely affected by foot-and-mouth disease are due at a reception hosted by the Prince of Wales at St James's Palace in London.

They are among 250 people from across the UK are invited to join the Prince for the afternoon on Tuesday, including families from some of the worst affected parts of the UK, including Powys and Gywnedd.

Farmer carries cull lambs
Welsh farmers were hit hard by the disease
The reception follows Prince Charles's morale-boosting trip to the Brecon Beacons on Monday.

The daytime reception is intended to lift the spirits after the outbreak, and to thank some of the organisations that brought relief to the rural community.

Visitors include children who wrote letters to the Prince about the plight of their families and "unsung heroes" who were involved in containing and coping with the virus.

They include vets, valuers, community volunteers, vicars and army personnel.

"The Prince of Wales has been deeply concerned about the plight of all those affected by foot-and-mouth," said a St James's Palace spokeswoman.

"The reception is intended to boost morale among farmers who have suffered particularly badly, and to thank some of the organisations who brought practical help."

In March last year, the Prince donated 500,000 to six rural charities and he has also toured areas badly affected by the disease.

'Open for business'

On Monday, Prince Charles braved the gales of mid Wales to visit several businesses affected by foot-and-mouth.

After meeting the owner of a Powys riding centre, he met with members of the Brecon Beacons Trust, which was set up to promote the area.

Prince Charles
Prince Charles stopped in a pub for a whisky
He also told a crowd in the Beacons, which had 30,000 sheep slaughtered at the height of the disease, were officially "open for business."

And he spoke of both the "ghastly problems" and "huge opportunities" faced by the region.

Later, Charles chatted with farmers at a local pub.

The disease's grip, which was first tightened in February, was officially ended in the UK on 22 January.

Estimates from the Welsh Assembly put the cost of the crisis at around 500m.

BBC Wales's Colette Hume
"When this came, I said to my missus I must have done something right."
See also:

03 Jan 02 | Wales
Farm crisis costs reach 500m
01 Apr 01 | Wales
Foot-and-mouth factfile
27 Feb 01 | Wales
Farmer 'devastated' by outbreak
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