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16 October 2014

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Lighting a Candle for Peace

By Mary Millington
September 2002, Newport
A digital story from Capture Wales

The candle still burns

Mary Millington tells us a story about how she lived and protested at Greenham Common for five years. She tells us the troubles she and other fellow protesters encountered and how her fight for peace still continues.

"My daughter did something most days after school - Brownies, ballet class, guitar lesson and so on. In pottery club she made me a candlestick but at the time I didn't use it.

Then I became a Greenham woman. I went to live on Greenham Common for five years with lots of other women to show my opposition to nuclear weapons.

We lived in caravans. Then our caravans got evicted so we lived in benders. Then our benders were evicted daily but we stayed there, living in little red getaway tents. We sat in front of the gates to delay work on the cruise missile silos.

We held vigils and mass demonstrations and started to cut down the fence with bolt cutters. Then we got arrested and charged. We went to court and prison.

I first used my daughter's candlestick in August 1983 on a vigil of my own with occasional supporters on Newbury War Memorial. I was there to remember all victims of all wars but especially the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Many Newbury people were enraged by my presence on their war memorial but a few of them supported us.

My friend Isobel, who lived in the centre of Newbury, brought her kids to the camp and invited us for baths.

My candle for peace has never gone out.

Right now, I'm opposing the War on Iraq with all means at my disposal. Greenham Common is a nature reserve and small business park now but soon us Greenham women will be back on the Common to open a memorial garden on the site where we camped in the eighties..."

Mary singing
"You can't kill
the spirit...
She is like
a mountain...
Old and strong
She goes on and on."

Mary Millington

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I'm an Englishwoman who moved to Wales 11 years ago in order to learn Welsh. I have settled in Newport, Gwent.

What's your story about?
It is about being a Greenham Common woman in the early 80s and my continuing opposition to war 20 years on.

Obviously, this is very important to you?
Yes it is. To be on this workshop I had to miss a big peace demo, in London. So I tried to combine something personal with this anti-war message.

How did you find the workshop?
Making the story involved learning lots of impossibly difficult moves, which I found challenging. But the best part was meeting the other storytellers and getting into their stories as well as my own.

Your comments

"Thank you Mary. I believe you also gave Zoe a light in her soul and life. The least and perhaps the most we can do for our children. Remembering Dec 12, '82. On and on ..." Lawrence now in California.

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