Save Leyton Marsh group would like to thank everyone who attended and took part in our successful Marshroots Celebration yesterday afternoon and evening. A good crowd braved the cold and drizzle to take part in reclaiming the marsh for the community.
The event had originally been intended as a celebration of the return of the marsh, which should have already been restored to public use on Monday. It was sad to still be outside the fences and even sadder to see the monoculture turf, partly laid on the waterlogged site of the former basketball venue.
However, it was decided that it was important to celebrate the community, our struggle and our ongoing desire to see the marsh restored and protected by hosting the event after the date on which the marsh should have been reinstated to ‘its former condition’.
LVRPA rangers did attempt to reprimand members of the community for not seeking permission and for not considering health and safety. It was pointed out to them that they had not sought the permission of the community to destroy the marsh that they were meant to be protecting and that it was astounding they should invoke health and safety concerns when they had invited outside developers to excavate the marsh unsafely, leaving tonnes of contaminated soil on site for weeks. After a brief discussion, they left and did not bother the free activities we put on for everyone.
Locals of all ages took part in ‘Art Action’ which involved painting the marshes and sculpting marsh creatures out of clay brought specially from the Runnymede Diggers Camp. Kids enjoyed getting their faces painted with ‘marsh avatars’ and learning circus tricks. At ‘Ranters’ Corner’, people gathered in the damp to hear about Project Maya ‘Connecting People with Nature’, SeedBall, the River of Flowers project, Diggers 2012 and to hear beautiful acoustic folk from local David Shevelew and performance poetry including a poem specially written for the Leyton Marsh struggle by Bernard James.
The event carried on into the evening at the Princess of Wales pub where a merry evening was spent listening to local folk from the Clean Peas, experimental poetry and music from Antonio Sanchez, political poetry from Angry Sam and equally political acoustic numbers from Neil Sutherland.