It has been a difficult 9 months for committed “Remainers”.
There was 24th June. For some, it was a result they feared after relentless campaigning. For others, like me, who had snoozed through the whole process, assuming that the majority were on the same wavelength as me, it was a dreadful shock.
As the news of the Leave win sunk in, we tried to come to terms with the fact our futures were not the ones we had hoped and voted for. We faced the gloating of some Leave voters, the shrugging of shoulders of apathetic remainers and the unconvincing platitudes of our M.Ps. For those us deeply affected by the result many of us found that our usual sources of comfort were either not on our side on this or were soon asking why we were "still going on about it".
In those dark days of summer '16, two Worcestershire snowflakes met online and from that slowly formed the giant snowball that is Worcestershire for Europe with membership at 160+ members in March '17.
There has been disappointment, despair, hope and much laughter since the group was formed. In our street campaigns we have met some delightful concerned citizens, befriended EU citizens and have met several who are (ahem) less supportive of our cause. Internet trolls have kindly taken the time to comment on our appearance, our means of protesting, our existence. We take it as a compliment and some of our feistier members have enjoyed lively debate. National meetings have been attended, letters have gone to press across the county and MPs have been tweeted, emailed and met. We now no longer need meetings with them, as we know their script: " The people have spoken. Best possible deal. Going to make a success of it".
For months we have anticipated the "big march" in London. Preparations were not without hitch, both for our transport minister Karen and in London, as volunteers set about the humongous task of organising an event for tens of thousands of people. Tragically, just three days before the event, the deadly Isis attack left people wondering if the event could take place at all.
Despite everything, Saturday 25 March 2017 was our day. We woke to perfect blue skies. Worcestershire for Europe filled a coach whilst many drove and caught trains to meet us. Amongst the estimated 120k marchers, our VIP paper mâché "Mayhem" soon became a star. The march was peaceful, respectful and so happy. After the previous months of dealing with aggressive Brexitters, apathetic remainers and those on both sides in total denial, I felt as if I was finally in a sane love bubble, surrounded by people who value their European citizenship as I do and were happy to express it. My abiding memory will be dancing along in the sunshine to the Beatles " All you need is love". I think we all left with a warm glow, which has set us in good stead for the challenging months ahead. Here's to the next one!