WI members from around the country attended The Wave event in London on Saturday 5 December – I asked Joy Thompson, a fellow NFWI Board member, to give her account of her first ever march.
The Wave, London, December 5th 2009 – unbelievably my first but hopefully not last, protest march – and what’s more over 40,000 others agreed and joined me including a wonderful band of WI supporters. I say supporters because we had daughters, children, and young men with us – mum or gran had obviously put out the three line whip!
What a great day – how exciting it was to see members pouring in from all over the UK, some coming down on special buses and trains, others making their own way into central London. After our pre-event in the Mayfair library gave us the opportunity to meet with other WI members who had come from round the country, we set off towards Grosvenor Square to gather with the thousands of others who had congregated there.
Every side of Grosvenor Square was packed with people, virtually all in varying shades of blue, including faces and hands – our blue Marigolds making it difficult to miss the WI contingent!
Along with hundreds of other organisations hoisting aloft banners and carrying placards, we set off towards Parliament through the ‘posher’ areas of London (despite the nightingales I’d never been to Berkeley Square!), past the Connaught Hotel, Claridges, the Ritz and Fortnum & Mason, down Regent Street to Westminster where we encircled the Houses of Parliament over Lambeth and Westminster Bridges ready for The Wave at 3.00pm. There were so many of us that we had to stop between the bridges as it wasn’t safe to let any more through.
What an amazing experience, no trouble at all (as far as I could see), support from passers by, redundant policemen lining the route and smiling us through, fantastic dragons, pandas, costumes and an incredible atmosphere from start to finish. More importantly, the paramount feeling that we were all there to publicise a vital cause and encourage the governments of the world to come together at last to reach viable decisions that will affect all our futures but especially those of our children and their children. Now let’s see exactly what they can come up with at Copenhagen – and pray that it is something substantial that will make a difference.