It has been 40 years since the first women marched from Wales to set up the legendary Greenham Women’s Peace Camp outside RAF Greenham Common to protest at the US military storing nuclear weapons on common land. They arrived on the 5th September 1981.
This event is sadly largely written out of history even though it remains the largest female-led protest since suffrage. Greenham Women Everywhere want to get people talking about the achievements of the protest again and have re-created the march, following the original route as closely as possible, and staying overnight in the areas they stayed.
Two of my friends, Claire, my choir leader, right, and Becca have been marching (and singing) from Cardiff to Greenham Common over the last 10 days and I am in awe of their dedication and their stamina! They have arrived this evening and what follows is a selection of their photographs and their commentary as they walked the 120 miles.
At the end of the first day –
“Peggy Seeger’s song, How I long for Peace, was sung by Frankie Armstrong at tonight’s event! It’s been a hell of a day, soooooo inspiring and fascinating talking to all the women, singing with them and hearing their stories. It feels a complete honour to be here. This morning we heard a speech by Anne Pettit, the woman who came up with the idea of the walk, 40 years ago and persuaded 3 of her friends to help plan it with her.”
“Wow, what a reception in Bristol yesterday!!! Dozens of people waiting for us on Horfield common with banners and walked the final 2 hours with us then we were greeted by a live band and a spontaneous sing and dance occurred! Lots of folk walking with us today, maybe 40? Numbers vary constantly and we have support vehicle for anyone who needs rescuing xx”
“I think we will have walked about 70 miles by the time we reach Melksham this evening. Each town we’re welcomed by a welcome committee then there is an evening event with different speakers.. It’s exhausting and inspiring! Most evenings we don’t eat until 9 or 10. Last night’s speaker was Dr Lynn Jones, she was brilliant!!! Hope all is good with all of you in Cornwall xxx”
“The welcome party and talks today took place under a tree in a park with the mayor of Devizes.
Then there was a speaker from Afghanistan. It was very moving. Her name is Zarghona Rassa. Originally from Afghanistan. Came to the UK, London 1994 with two children age 7 & 3.
She’s the Founder of the British Afghan Women’s Society who are currently supporting people in Afghanistan.