One of world's most famous and powerful men, American President George W. Bush, is due to visit Sedgefield tomorrow. Chatherine Jewitt finds out how the residents of Tony Blair's constituency feel about the visit.

OPINIONS over George Bush's state visit may be divided but there is undoubtedly a stirring atmosphere in the village which will play host to the US president tomorrow.

The buzz about the village is not just coming from the helicopters circling above Sedgefield, in County Durham, scanning for security, but from the anticipation surrounding a visit by the President and the First Lady.

Many anti-war protestors are angered that the country is welcoming the man they blame for the Iraqi conflict and others are outraged that the UK taxpayer is footing the estimated £10m bill for a three-day visit.

But for the close-knit community of Sedgefield, tomorrow is likely to go down in history as one of its most exciting. Not only is there an unprecedented level of security but the area is preparing for worldwide fame as the international media gathers to cover the day.

One family with more reason to be excited than most is the Smiths - Kelly, Brett and three-year-old son Jackson, from West End, Sedgefield.

US-born Kelly, 39, lived in Mr Bush's home state Texas, before moving to County Durham in 1999 to start a family and open a coffee shop with husband Brett, 32.

Most of Kelly's family in Port Arthur saw Mr Bush present her grandparents with honours but she was working on a cruise ship at the time.

Grandmother Ruby Van Dorn, 94, was awarded the state's highest civil accolade the Yellow Rose of Texas after years of lobbying for road safety improvements and grandfather Richard Van Dorn, 96, was honoured as the area's oldest cowboy.

Tomorrow, Kelly will celebrate Mr Bush's visit by sending two cakes, decorated with stars and stripes and yellow roses - the state flower of Texas - to the Labour Party office in Trimdon and serving up some traditional Texan specialities at her caf.

She said: "When I heard he was coming to the area I now call home I was thrilled, it is a great honour."

Opposing views will be clear to Mr Bush as protestors are expected to gather in the village to vent their anger over his influence on Tony Blair over going to war.

Peter Cook, 57, has lined his windows with "Stop Bush" posters issued by the Stop The War Coalition campaign group.

He said: "I would rather Mr Bush wasn't President of the US but, as he is, I think the visit is an opportunity to show we think he has created terrorism rather than fighting it and this country is aiding and abetting him.

"A lot of media will be here and though he wants to send out postcard-type images, we should ask Americans to wake up and look more closely at their leader."

Residents in Sedgefield village will have to find somewhere else to park from tonight because of road closures ahead of the VIP visit.

Villagers living and working in the areas affected by parking restrictions are being urged to make arrangements to park their cars at alternative locations between 8pm tonight at 5pm tomorrow.

Vehicles parked on private driveways are not affected.

But police have warned that any vehicles left parked on the designated roads after 8pm tonight will be removed and the owners will have to meet the cost.

Roads closed during the 21-hour window are: the C38 Stockton Road, Lile Gardens, Malton Terrace, Front Street and High Street in Sedgefield; Rectory Row and Cross Street in Sedgefield; East End in Sedgefield; Butterwick Road in Sedgefield; C67 Luke Street and Rodwell Street in Trimdon Colliery.

Roads affected by closures at varying times during the same time scale are: B1278 through Trimdon Village to Fishburn from Wingate Lodge; C38 in and around Fishburn; A177 from Coxhoe to Sedgefield; A689 from Bradbury interchange to Wolviston; Butterwick Road to the A689.

Residents affected by the arrangements are being informed by letter.

Durham's Assistant Chief Constable Gary Barnett said disruption will be kept to a minimum.