CAMPAIGNERS in north Essex spearheading moves to tackle racism in rural areas say they welcome a TV presenter who said racism is a problem in the countryside.

Countryfile star Ellie Harrison spoke after the show aired an episode which explored racism in the countryside.

The show saw dozens of comments which took a week for the BBC producers to sift through, the presenter said

Writing in the Countryfile magazine, Ellie said there was work to do.

She wrote: “I spooled through the comments which broadly came in three flavours: ‘I’m not racist so there is no racism in the countryside’; ‘I’m black and I’ve never experienced racism in the countryside’ and importantly, ‘I have experienced racism in the countryside’.

“So there’s work to do. Even a single racist event means there is work to do. In asking whether the countryside is racist, then yes it is; but asking if it’s more racist than anywhere else — maybe, maybe not.”

BLM In The Stix welcomed the presenter’s stance.

Gurpreet Sidhu said: “In our research it is clear that racism exists in rural areas.

“Research shows that a person of colour is far more likely to be racially abused in the countryside than in a city.

“In rural areas as people of colour are in the minority they often don’t feel safe speaking out about it, don’t want to be ostracised and end up suffering in silence.

“If you can’t see a problem personally it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

“Like Ellie we are trying to encourage white residents in rural areas to see that being not racist isn’t enough to stamp out rural racism.

“We need as many people in rural areas as possible to become anti-racist to tackle the rise in racism.”