DIARY: Stapely’s role laying down the law for the everyday story of country folk

Sue Stapely may have relinquished her role as Law Society PR chief but a seminal part of the profession’s public face is still very much in her hands. For, unbeknown to many, Stapely is a legal adviser to one of the UK’s most esteemed institutions - The Archers.

Sue Stapely may have relinquished her role as Law Society PR chief but a

seminal part of the profession’s public face is still very much in her

hands. For, unbeknown to many, Stapely is a legal adviser to one of the

UK’s most esteemed institutions - The Archers.



Trained solicitor Stapely first got down on the farm six years ago after

writing in to beg for some professional dynamism from the agonisingly

dull Ambridge solicitor Mark Hebden.



She was invited to a meeting, became an adviser, and - long after the

dull Hebden went to the big courtroom in the sky - is still on board.



Her role has covered everything from agricultural tenancies to the

creation of Asian female lawyer Usha Gupta to the three-month

imprisonment of mother-of-two Susan Carter, for harbouring her fugitive

brother Clive, which inspired the national ‘Free the Ambridge One’

campaign.



This story-line led to a final public blurring of fact and fiction, as

Stapely recalls: ‘It all got to a heady peak when I got a call from

Michael Howard, who had returned from a trip abroad to be greeted by the

constituent who started the campaign, requesting he overturn the

sentence.’



Rather than hastening the release of the unfortunate Susan, Stapely

instead provided Howard with details of similar cases, all of which

involved equally harsh sentences.



Fishburn Hedges director Stapely says her Ambridge days have thrown up

the most unlikely Archers’ fans.



‘At the last Archers party,’ she confides, ‘Adam Faith and I became

engaged in the most animated conversation about how Sundays weren’t

Sundays if we weren’t ensconced in our respective baths listening to the

Omnibus.’



Tum-ti-tum-ti-tum-ti-tum.



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