The Woodcraft Folk have been attending Tolpuddle for a number of years now, with our presence organised by members from the South West region. However, this year the usual organisers were unable to attend and members from the South East stepped in to help ensure our presence continued to be felt.
For the first time the Woodcraft Folk actually appeared (squuare logo and all) in the festival programme produced by the TUC. And although eventually the space allocated to us was inadequate for running some activities, the Folk made the best of it and invaded other open spaces to play parachute games! Activities the Folk provided included making gods eyes, singing, friendship bracelets and parachute games. All were well received by the young people who dropped in on activities. The SW members also tried to get a list of names together of interested adults who might want to help start a new group in Dorest.
The South East brought new button badges "Woodies against the Nazis" to give away, as well as pens (promoting the new SER website) and postcards that included the HQ phone number - should people want more information.
On Sunday the Woodcraft Folkdrawing members from Spelthorne, Portsmouth, Southampton, Brighthelmstone, Oxford, Bath, Swindon, Exeter and London joined the procession that marched through Tolpuddle. Placing ourselves at the back, we made a lively section of about 70 people with flags, banners, chants and singing. It was clear that bystanders and others in the procession knew we were there!
The afternoon finished at the stage set up in front of the martyr's museum with speeches from Brendan Barber and veteran socialist Tony Benn. This was followed by music from Transglobal Underground and the Bard of Barking- Billy Bragg.
It was a great weekend, enjoyed by all. Everyone felt it went well and the Woodcraft Folk were highly visible. Our numbers are growing year on year and it would be great to have more people from the South West, South East and London next year