THE Bishop of Bradford visited North Craven on a two-day tour to offer support and encouragement after the foot and mouth crisis.

The Rt Rev David Smith visited the deanery of Ewecross, which includes Clapham, Austwick, Bentham, Ingleton and Burton-in Lonsdale.

He told the Herald: "I have been going round offering encouragement to people and finding out what is happening, and not least how people are recovering from the problems of foot and mouth disease.

"I am impressed and encouraged by the sheer determination that I have seen and by the great care people have for each other."

On Thursday the Bishop visited Clapham Primary School where he gave the children an entertaining talk and came away impressed by their knowledge of bishops' attire and regalia. He also visited the Looking Well arts centre at Bentham, where he joined in the Mucky Buckets parent and toddler group meeting.

"It is splendid. It offers a wonderful service to people locally and I hope it will go from strength to strength," said Mr Smith.

The rest of the tour saw him join in a meeting of the Ingleton Regeneration Group, visit the Metcalfe family on their farm between Ingleton and Chapel-le-Dale and call in at Masongill Farm where he met Jeremy and Rosemary Hartley. He also visited the Station Inn at Ribblehead to meet landlord Neil Warwick, Ribblehead Station and enjoyed tea at Burton-in-Lonsdale.

The Bishop stayed overnight at the New Inn at Clapham and the following day he and his wife, Mary, visited Horton-in-Ribblesdale Church of England Primary School.

After looking around the school he took part in a Religious Education lesson, talking to the pupils about God and nature. Following lunch with the children, the Bishop walked to St Oswald's Church in the village to view the millennium banner created by the school using tie dye, needlework and collage, with the help of local artist Margaret Knight.

Headteacher Catherine Boocock, said she was delighted the Bishop had visited the school, pointing out that the children were particularly proud of the millennium banner.