A national archive relating to the 2001 foot-and-mouth disease outbreak - the largest international collection on the disease in the world - has been made available for the first time on the internet.
The archive, established at the Royal Agricultural Society of England's library at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, was donated by the Rev Patricia Pinkerton, a member of the rural clergy in the Forest of Dean.
The minister began documenting what took place when she became involved in ministering to those whose farms were stricken with the disease in 2001.
Her search, which still continues, covered almost anyone who had information or a tale to tell. Its success is evidenced in the thousands of items that she has collected and presented to the society for safe keeping as a central source of information should such an epidemic occur again.
The National Foot- and- Mouth Disease Archive was formally opened on May 25 at the annual general meeting of the RASE.
President Dr Antony Russell, Bishop of Ely, said: "As an industry we tend to feel we'd rather forget the whole thing, but it would be dangerous to do so. We should all acknowledge Patricia Pinkerton's foresight and thank her for it."
Ms Pinkerton added: "Whether you are a farmer, a scientist, a historian or a member of the public you will find the truth here. The truth will make sure our farmers stay doing what they should be doing - and don't just become our country's gardeners." The collection contains more than 1,000 items.
Government and local authority reports are included, together with those of societies, academic and professional bodies, as well as statements issued by them and photographic records. The collection can also be viewed telephoning 024 7685 3076.
* To access the archive log on to www.rase.org.uk/about_RASE/library. ..SUPL: