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Kingston Peace Council/CND

Annual report - 2003

Presented 11th February 2004

Activity last year mainly centred on opposing the Iraq war. About 50 members and supporters met at Waterloo for the massive demonstration of February 15th 2003. We organised our own quite well attended march in Kingston on Saturday 29th March, with good speakers including Jenny Tonge. Izzy prepared a fine video of the march for us. We met again on the day the war started for another huge march, and attended the 27th September march, again with very good numbers. A very creditable number for a weekday met for the 20th November march protesting against George Bush's visit.
We were also present with our banner at the DSEI protests, and individual members attended several other DSEI, Stop Bush and Freedom for Palestine protests. Some of us attended mass lobbies of parliament and a wide variety of meetings, to present views from KPC/CND and feed back information to our members through our monthly meetings and newsletters.
Locally we maintained our twice-monthly Saturday stall in Kingston Market Place, and weekly vigil/leafletting on Thursday evenings. Many thanks to Johann Martin for her work coordinating "The Pram".
Our Hiroshima day (8th August) memorial boat-floating ceremony was well-attended, and the Deputy Mayor, Janet Bowen-Hitchings, delivered a thoughtful and feeling speech.
Mary Holmes launched and carried through a campaign to publicise the working of the UN through schools. This continues, with Mary's efforts yielding a response from several schools in the area.
We organised two public meetings, both in the United Reformed Church Mayo Hall. Both were well attended.
The first 'Stop the War' meeting was on 27th February 2003, with Edward Davey and Jenny Tonge MPs and other speakers.
The second on Israel and Palestine issues was on 17th September 2003, with speakers from the (Quaker led) Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Israel and Palestine, Jews for Justice in Palestine, Kingston Liberal Synagogue and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. This was a stormy meeting with orchestrated intervention from a pro Israel group, but we hope to build some follow-up on it.
We continued our regular monthly meetings, with videos at several. And for once, we remember to thank the members who make sure we get our brew of coffee every time with sometimes biscuits if we've been diligent Later this year we may have to find an alternative venue since the Quaker Meeting House is expected to be demolished in October for rebuilding. Suggestions will be welcome. We're going to need a new home for our mobile stall, as well - commonly known as the Pram, though the contents are more campaigning than baby.
We held two successful and profitable jumble sales, and continue to be very grateful to Maggie and Dorothy Bridgeland for organising these. We expect to need an alternative venue for our jumble sales from October, and ideas are welcome.
We organised very successful stalls at the Green Fair, New Malden, and Sutton, in each case without rain. Maggie organised an excellent book sale in her garage, Thanks to everyone who helped, and to those who donated goods.
We organised a Barn Dance in March, unfortunately on the day the war had started, which put something of a damper on the occasion and reduced the numbers we had expected. We held a picnic in Canbury Gardens on the UN International Day of Peace, September 21st. This day, created in response to work of the Peace One Day organisation, has not yet really reached public awareness so the picnic was something of a members occasion - enjoyable but not bringing in outsiders. We need to consider what to do next year. We met at the beginning of December for our Box Hill ramble and visit to Juniper Hall.
Newsletter and website
Harry Davis, assisted by Tristan and Tom, continue to create our successful monthly newsletter Many thanks to them. We often receive compliments for the contents of "Kingston Peace News". Thanks also to Norman Smith who has continued to maintain our website. Tom Sloman has now volunteered to take over this task. Thanks also to Barbara who sorts the newsletters and to Jean and all the distributors.
Our membership subscriptions last year show 129 members, of whom 18 were new. We also send our Newsletter to 19 non members to maintain contact. We note the increased levels of interest in all our work, stimulated by the wretched warmongering politicians.
We note with regret the death of Lord Hugh Jenkins of Putney, a well known peace activist and long time reader of KPC/CND Newsletter and of another member from Orpington, Christine Beecroft, a committed worker for peace.
We have done a lot, but there remains much we can do. We hope that 2004 will be a more peaceful year, and that the public will continue to question the hypocrisy that led us into war. Rosemary Addington, Chair Fred Ashmore, SecretarySome Jokes for You
1. Tale of the Sparrow.
The following story was sent in by Lib Rowlands-Hughes, our Wales correspondent.
A horseman travelling along a country lane noticed a sparrow in his path, lying on its back with its feet up in the air.
'What do you think you're doing, sparrow?' asked the horseman.
'I've heard that the sky is going to fall in today,' replied the sparrow.
'I hope that doesn't happen,' said the horseman. 'But why be on the ground, with your feet in the air?'
'One does what one can,' replied the sparrow.
2. Digging the Plot
(Sent in by Rosemary)
An old Arab lived alone in Idaho. He wanted to spade his potato garden, but it was hard work. His only son Abdul, who normally would help him, was being held by the FBI to answer questions about his Arabic name. The old man wrote a letter to his son describing his predicament.
Dear Abdul, I am feeling pretty bad because it looks like I won't be able to plant potatoes this year. I am getting too old to be digging a garden plot. If you were here, all my troubles would be over. I know you would dig the plot for me.
Love, Dad.
A few days later he received a letter from his son.
Dear Dad, For heavens' sake don't dig up that garden. That's where I buried the biological weapons. Love, Abdul
At 4 a.m. the next morning FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the whole area without finding any weapons. They apologised to the old man and left. The next day he received another letter from his son.
Dear Dad, Go ahead and plant the potatoes now.
Subscriptions (Seriously now)
Just a reminder to members who pay an annual sub that the code on your newsletter address label indicates when your membership expires, the year followed by the month eg 200310 - end of October 2003. (This does not apply to payments made by Standing Order.) Funds derived from subsciptions pay for the production and distribution of the monthly newsletter, leaving the bulk of our income available for campaigning and the support of many and various peace initiatives.
It would be helpful if members could keep an eye on the code and pay the sub without waiting for a reminder. Current rates are £5 individual, £8 family, £2 unwaged. In the interests of economy, I don't normally issue receipts since the change in code itself indicates receipt. However, if you would like an acknowledgement of your payment do please let me know. If you wish to save yourself trouble in the future you might consider paying by Standing Order - just ask me for a form. Hilary Evans