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INVITATION: GREENHAM COMMON PEACE WALK

Event Date:27th August

INVITATION:  GREENHAM COMMON PEACE WALK

Photo:  The Peace March crossing the Severn Bridge in 1981.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AUGUST BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY  27.08.2018

10:00 – 12:00: Alexandra Gardens, Cardiff (directly behind City Hall)

Speeches by some of the women who were part of the protest as well as historians. An opportunity to see some of the peace banners, singing and a short walk around the square.

12:00 – 17:00: Bus Journey to Chepstow to re-create part of the journey.

An opportunity to enjoy further presentations and a special exhibition at the Drill Hall, Lower Church Street, Chepstow NP16 5HJ. You can also choose to walk part of the old Severn Bridge to recreate the images in the iconic photos of 1981, with banners created especially by children in Abergavenny and a new banner by Thalia Campbell. Refreshments available.  YOU ARE VERY WELCOME TO JOIN US - CROESO

17:00: Bus returns to Cardiff and Swansea.

Wear your sashes, badges and period costumes! If you have any old photos or artefacts from the original protests bring them along!

The event is free of charge thanks to a grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Everyone welcome and please bring a packed lunch

*Booking is essential for the bus from Cardiff to Chepstow and the return journey. If you are travelling from Swansea we have organised a coach which will be leaving the Glyn Vivian Gallery at 08:30 and returning at the end of the day, again booking is essential. Email: gailmall@aol.com

PEACE  WALK  REPORT

Bank Holiday Monday 27th August was an emotional day for many of us.  This was the exact date in 1981 when a group of women set off from Cardiff to walk all the way to Greenham Common to protest against the siting of US Cruise missiles there.  Our aim this year was to commemorate the impact and influence of the Greenham Common peace camp throughout the world.

The initiative started in Wales.  A group of 4 women in west Wales came up with the idea, fearful of the build up of nuclear missiles at that time and for the future of their children. Two of those women, Ann Pettitt and Karmen Thomas, were speakers at our event.  As also was Sue Lent, who only intended to walk as far as Newport with her son in his push chair, but then was inspired by the ethos of the group to walk the whole way.  Another speaker was Steff Greedy who realised she was on the wrong side of the Greenham fence and left the army.   Bethan Sian Jones from Aberystwyth University put the Greenham and Brawdy peace camps in the historical context of the Cold War.

And we had music.  Peace songs from Heather Jones and the Red Choir in Cardiff, from Frankie Armstrong in Chepstow.  The songs brought back so many memories of the peace movement in the 1980’s.

It was an ambitious and complicated day.  Some of us had set off from Swansea in a big bus at 8.30 am, an echo of what we used to do all those years ago.  There were familiar faces from the old days.  Over 60 people gathered for two hours in Alexandra Gardens behind Cardiff City Hall, to listen to the speeches and music, and to talk to old and new friends.

More people joined us on the bus from Cardiff to the Drill Hall in Chepstow, where additionally there was an exhibition and yet more participants.  

And we had banners.  The highlight of the day was walking on the old Severn Bridge, recreating the iconic photo from the original walk in 1981.  The procession was a beautiful spectacle in the sunshine, with the two colourful banners created by schoolchildren in Abergavenny in our workshop in April, and a new banner that Thalia Campbell had specially created for our event.  Thalia’s daughter Lucy carried this banner, remembering being a teenager on the original march.

Karmen said afterwards that our event ‘captured the spirit of the day all those years ago’.  For many of us it was a reminder of our younger selves; for everyone it was a reminder of women’s creativity in protest.