An East Morton woman spoke yesterday of her hopes for an emotional reunion with her father who is caught up in Zimbabwe's bloody land invasion crisis.

And Lynne McMillan told of her father's growing anxiety about the situation in Zimbabwe - which has so far resulted in the murder of two farmers and the invasion of some 500 farms - and her own sadness at the plight facing the land she grew up in.

It was revealed last week that 100 supporters of President Mugabe had invaded the 4,500-acre farmstead where her 74-year-old father, Bert Hacking, his partner and her family farm tobacco, maize and cattle.

The squatters are still on the land and although there have been no confrontations, Mr Hacking has told his daughter that tensions are rising.

Mrs McMillan and her press photographer husband, Anthony, are planning an already-arranged holiday in South Africa and hope to spend a week with Mr Hacking, in Durban, next month.

Mrs McMillan, 46, a clinical psychologist at the Centre for Crisis Psychology, near Skipton, said: "I haven't seen my father for nearly two years and it is difficult being so far away, so being reunited with him will be wonderful.

"It will be a big relief simply to see him and know he's okay.

"He'll be going back to Zimbabwe afterwards - he's lived there all his life and wouldn't know what to do if he moved somewhere else at his age.

"At this stage there's no reason for him to leave although, obviously, if his life is in danger he'll reassess the situation. For me there's a combination of tense anxiety about my father's position and incredible anger and sadness that the situation in the place I grew up in has come to this.

"It's like someone knocking on your front door here and saying 'I know you live here but the house no longer belongs to you. I'm moving in, now get out'.''

Mrs McMillan added: "The squatters have moved to an area where there are several dams used for irrigating the land and the farm is no longer working because of the situation. There's been no aggression at all yet and the farmers are just waiting to see what happens but they're in a very big area - about the size of West Yorkshire - that only has ten to 15 policemen.

"The farmers are in constant contact with each other and have met regularly to discuss security.

"There have been violent incidents on nearby farms - some have been shown by the BBC - and while the situation on my father's farm is fairly stable, it's still very worrying because it could get out of hand and 100 people is quite a large group."

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.