ANTOINETTE McCormick left York today on the first leg of her mission to become a human shield in Iraq.

She revealed that if her efforts and those of other volunteers failed to deter the USA and Britain from bombing Baghdad, she has no intention of bailing out.

"I have made a decision to stay, regardless," she said.

Antoinette, 38, whose parents, John and Mairi, live in Huntington Road, will help in London with organising the shield campaign over the next few days before flying out to Jordan on Monday.

She plans to travel by bus from there to Baghdad. "It's a ten to 15 hour journey and quite dangerous," she said.

She expects hundreds of human shields to get to the Iraqi capital, but believes 5,000 are needed, and she appealed for more volunteers to come forward.

Antoinette has been funded on her trip primarily by the York Quakers, but also by family and friends.

She said she believed that the action by herself and other Westerners would deter governments from bombing utilities.

"If they do, and we die, the outrage will bring about at least a change in government."

But she admitted: "Yes, it's very scary."

:: More information on the campaign is available on the website,

Updated: 11:41 Wednesday, February 12, 2003