Sunday, 21 July 2019

WI members join climate change demonstration in Westminster

WI members join climate change demonstration in Westminster

TWO women who took part in a climate change protest in London say MPs should do more to tackle the problem.

Sheila Brockelbank and Christabel Grimmer were among about 12,000 people involved in the Time is Now lobby of MPs in Westminster on Wednesday last week.

They joined a group of members of Women’s Institutes from around the country at the demonstration. Mrs Brockelbank is a member of Cockpole Green WI and Mrs Grimmer belongs to Mill Green (Wargarve) WI.

The event was organised by Greener UK and the Climate Coalition, of which the WI is a founder member, and groups were encouraged to wear green and take banners and placards with them.

Other organisations taking part included the WWF, Christian Aid, Cafod, the National Trust, Unicef and the RSPB.

Mrs Brockelbank met other WI members at Victoria Tower Gardens in London at noon for a group picture before they walked to Millbank for the protest.

Mrs Brockelbank 67, of Victoria Road, Wargrave, said: “I went as part of the WI but there were huge numbers of other organisations there. There was also a walk of witness of all sorts of faiths led by Rowan Williams [former Archbishop of Canterbury].

“It was quite nice to meet other WI members. After the photo, we had to go to our lobby positions. The bank was split into 12 different regions — I was near Lambeth Palace in the south-east section but this was sub-divided, so I was in the Maidenhead constituency.”

Campaigners were able to leave messages for the MPs in a red telephone box and at 2pm they all made as much noise as they could by cheering and whistling.

Mrs Brockelbank, a retired primary school teacher, said: “At 2pm we were told to all start our alarms and there was this big noise with whistles and shouting to say that ‘time’s up’. There was a great din with lots of shouting but there was a very nice family atmosphere and parents had brought children in pushchairs. It was all very friendly.”

The protest was designed to encourage MPs to come outside and meet the campaigners.

Mrs Brockelbank, who has two grown-up children, said: “We were waiting for our MPs to come out but Theresa May, my MP, said she couldn’t come. We did see some MPs coming and they were given a cheer. Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton, got a big cheer.”

Mrs Brockelbank said she would take part in more climate change protests but hoped these would be publicised better so more people would attend.

She added: “The whole point of the day was to say that climate change can’t wait and that a lot of people care about it. The demonstration included people from all walks of life with different groups, faiths and schools as well as individuals.

“We wanted to say to MPs that we would support them if they talked about climate more and took strong action.”

Mrs Grimmer, 82, of High Street, Wargrave, said: “It was all very positive and when I say positive I mean it’s because we were all there for the same reason. One hopes our actions make a difference.

“One’s reason for doing it was a passion for trying to solve the hideous problem of global warming. People of my generation won’t suffer but it will be our children and grandchildren.”

Mrs Grimmer, a retired TV and film prop maker, added that she was disappointed at the lack of coverage of the event by TV and national newspapers.

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