Liz Searle of Friends of Chopwell Woods helped organise a rally on Sunday. She has written a blog post for 38 Degrees to let everyone know how it went:
The Friends of Chopwell Wood and the Chopwell Wood Horse Riding Association organised a rally in Chopwell Woods on Sunday. Over 200 posters were put up more than a week before, facebook was used to spread the word, and 4000 leaflets were delivered to local villages. “Save Chopwell Wood” yellow lapel ribbons, and “I love Chopwell Wood” key rings were produced, to be given away to supporters at the rally.
The day came, the banner and gazebos went up, and the band arrived to play whilst supporters gathered. BBC and TyneTees TV crews and newspaper journalists began arriving. It was amazing to see 1200 people turn up!
The opening speech came from Paul Fountain of Friends of Chopwell Wood. He said,
“Managing a forest is a full time job not something for part-time volunteers to take on. We are already part of the Big Society, but working together and with the support of the Forestry Commission. Without FC everything we have achieved may be lost.”
He was followed by representatives of the Green Party, Horse Riding Association, Forestry Commission Trade Union, local Labour Councillor, Ramblers Association, and local MP David Anderson. Then the public were invited to the microphone to have their say, and some did. Everyone was against the forestry proposals included in the Public Bodies Bill and the Consultation. People queued to sign a paper version of the 38 Degrees petition that had been prepared. Eventually five points around the table were created and 700 people signed on the day, with many copies being taken away to be completed later.
Overall though we felt it was a very successful day, and we got a lot of media coverage – on both local TV news on Sunday night, and both local morning papers on Monday. Some of this may be included in the national press as there was a national photographer/jounalist attending.
Liz Searle – Friends of Chopwell Wood