Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Political award for defending country way of life

AN organisation which has championed the lifestyles of people on Exmoor and other rural areas has won a prestigious television award.
The Countryside Alliance, born out of the fight against the hunting ban and the effects of Foot and Mouth Disease, was named ‘the most inspiring political personality’ of the past 10 years in a Channel 4 News political awards programme.
It won the title for ‘its campaigns against the fox hunting ban and its defence of rural life’.
Founding president Baronnes Mallalieu QC and chairman Kate Hoey, MP, accepted the award from actor Jeremy Irons.
Baronnes Mallalieu quoted Shakespeare in describing her own Government as being guilty of the ‘insolence of office’.
She warned future administrations, of whatever colour, that there was ‘unfinished business’ in the countryside.
The ‘inspiring’ category was a special award in the annual political awards to mark Channel 4 News’ 10th anniversary.
Other shortlisted candidates included Tony Blair and Ken Livingstone.
Countryside Alliance chief executive Simon Hart said: “This win is a great shot in the arm for the Countryside Alliance at the start of 2008.
“It is clear that we were shortlisted primarily because of the hunting issue and our vocal campaigning style.
“Our ongoing tenacity and support for the hunting community will remain at the core of what we do, but Channel 4 also acknowledged our broader reach, naming our ‘defence of rural life’.
“The Countryside Alliance believes that when it comes to the defence of that rural life, it is ‘all of us or none of us’.
“This belief in unity makes the victory all the sweeter, the acclaim is for all of us.
“Everybody who has marched, signed petitions, written to their MP, volunteered or worked for the Alliance, and stoically continued to defend country sports and the rural way of life for the past decade can rightly claim this award as their own.”
The award was voted for by telephone, text, and email to decide the winner.
Spokesman for the Minehead Harriers, Mike Padgett, said: “We are so pleased that the Countryside Alliance has won this prestigious award from Channel 4 for fighting our corner, the fox hunting ban and its defence of rural life.”
  • Our photograph shows Kate Hoey and Simon Hart, of the Countryside Alliance, with their Channel 4 award. Photo submitted.

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