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Farm owner 'upset' by E-coli outbreak

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 13 September 2009

The manager of a farm linked to E-coli cases that have left four children seriously ill in hospital has defended the attraction's handling of the outbreak.

Godstone Farm

Twelve children are thought to have contracted the 0157 strain of the bug after visiting Godstone farm in Surrey.

But questions have been raised about why the farm was kept open, even though health officials knew it was linked to ecoli cases reported last month.

Twelve children, all under the age of 10, are thought to have contracted the dangerous O157 strain of the bug after visiting Godstone farm in Surrey.

Manager Richard Oatway said: "All the staff at the farm are very upset about the E-coli outbreak and we hope that all the children make a full and speedy recovery.

"We have taken the decision to close the farm until the authorities have finished their investigations. These have been very thorough and are still ongoing.

"We will not reopen the farm until we are satisfied that we have got to the root of the problem and have put in place suitable control measures."

Mr Oatway has run the farm since 1980. It boasts a large range of animals that children can pet and feed, attracting up to 2,000 visitors a day at peak times.

He added: "Our main priority has always been to make sure the farm is safe for everyone who comes here to visit. This includes our own children and grandchildren.

"We have co-operated fully with all the authorities from the very beginning and will, of course, continue to do so.

"Meanwhile, we would really like to thank the many visitors who have emailed us with their support."

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