Sheffield to Chesterfield
The day started with a photo shoot with PCS member in Sheffield. We then made our way to Chesterfield. When we arrived at Chesterfield later that evening we were received by the Labour Club. We welcomed their support but Ben Robinson made a speech saying that it wasn’t enough to condemn the cuts but we needed action. He also stated that YFJ doesn’t “accept £9009, £6000 fees, education should be totally free” this drew applause from ordinary Labour Party members.
Chesterfield to Nottingham
I woke up nice and refreshed in Anne Frazer’s house; first warm shower of the march and a comfy bed to boot. It was her son, Ben’s birthday, so HAPPY 17th BIRTHDAY BEN! Hope you had a good’un.
We set off from Chesterfield and were joined by The One Show for the rest of the morning. I personally was ‘fixing feet’ and taking care of my patients so sadly couldn’t be on TV. Matt Whale, whom they interviewed and will forever be immortalized by the BBC will now take over the blog and fill you in… Kerry Hitchen, a fellow marcher said “It was good.” (long standing joke.)
Just before lunch we reached the town of Shirebrook. There, at the market place we were met by at least 80 supporters of the march and received hugely generous donations. This excellent turnout was rather unexpected and truly reflected the surge of support since we’ve reached this region (an old mining community) and boosted morale greatly. We had lunch at the Miner’s Welfare Club and I was particularly pleased as they had pickled onions! Yum!
After setting off from Shirebrook we passed a whole street of blocked out houses. These houses were supposedly to be renovated by the council. But as is recognised in the rest of the country, they ‘ran out of money’ and thus another hundred plus people are added to the ever growing 5million on the council house register. I was told by a local that some tenants refused to move and are still living in these houses. Not even half a mile on we passed a retired coal mine. All throughout this leg of the march the cars honking have increased back up to a level I would say we only experienced in Jarrow and the North East itself; the echoes of the past are very much still heard in these hard hit, industrial regions.
We stopped at Kirby-on-Ashfield, after walking 21 miles, where we all went to our respective homes for the night. Myself and 3 others were put up by lovely couple, Rosemary and Colin. We dropped off our bags, had the best lasagne ever (the garlic breath was well worth it!) and then went to a social; a subscriber of The Socialist was having a birthday party (second birthday shout out) and invited us all to go along and join in the merriment. We all had a fantastic time, and I hear the curry was very good.
Rosemary picked us up waayyy past bed time and I soon fell asleep.
Woke up next day to the aroma of bacon and eggs drifting up the stairs. The spread put out for us wasn’t just appreciated, I don’t think any of us wanted to leave. I missed out on going home when we got to Yorkshire and the feeling of warmth I got at their home made me feel so much better.
We left Kirby-on-Ashfield at 12noon and travelled 6 miles until we reached Nottingham centre where a huge reception of around 300, an absolutely fantastic turnout (a thanks to Helen Pattison and her hardcore leafleting should be mentioned). We had a fair few speakers including our own marcher Kirk Leonard from Australia who highlighted the international struggles taking place and the need to unite all workers of the world in this fight against capitalism. Thanks also to the vegan company who laid on food for us after the demo!
The rest of the day was ours and we took advantage of this well deserved time off by making a short trip to the oldest inn in England ‘Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem’.
Back at our home for the weekend, I had the first cooked mushrooms I’ve ever liked, cheers to Colin for the culinary experience.
The rest of my night (and from what I’ve heard others feel the same) was relaxing and enjoyable. Except for when Alex Moore lied about going to Alton Towers…better be a lie anyway.
Nottingham to Loughborough
We were due to set off from Nottingham to Loughborough at 10am although due to a minibus malfunctioning tyre we were rather delayed. Bullet (Mark our driver) as usual came to our rescue and a while later we were on our way. The 15 mile leg started and soon we were back walking on our enemy, the grass verge of an A-road. Our navigator Ben Robinson once again sent us the wrong way as we missed the turn off. The walk was long and rural to keep moral up we started a chorus of chants and songs written by the marchers at the expense of others on the march ( light hearted of course).
We had a rare negative heckle by a less than sober man outside a pub. Though any insult caused was countered by the PCS rep. who fought our corner and sent the marchers into Loughborough on high spirits where we were met by a delegation of trade unionists. We then proceeded to our accommodation at the Indian Workers Association (IWA) in Leicester. Here a welcome evening meal of traditional curry awaited us. We had a brief welcome meeting hosted by the IWA who sent their fraternal greetings and solidarity to the march and sent us to our beds well fed and in high spirits.
Loughborough to Leicester.
The Jarrow marchers arrived in Loughborough for our 12 mile march to Leicester at 10am with the best breakfast we’ve had yet, a warm curry put on by the Leicester Indian Workers Association. BBC East Midlands followed our progress throughout the day, focusing on unemployed Leicester University graduate and Jarrow marcher, Alex Moore. Alex said, “The reason why I’m doing the Jarrow March is that there are hundreds of thousands of people like me in my situation, and I just feel I have to stand up to the attacks on young people. I was at the Leicester University graduate fair and there were very few jobs for people with degrees like mine.”
This is the plight of thousands of graduates up and down the country and we urge all those who have failed to find work upon finishing to support the march on the 5th of November through London as we say ‘We won’t be a lost generation, We’ll fight for jobs and education!’
As we marched we were greeted by support in numerous villages and one youngster on his half-term holidays was happy to take a leaflet and join us for some lunch in the village of Quorn with a sandwich and crisps.
We then marched off before eventually arriving in Leicester. There we held a demonstration at the clock tower in the town centre. Ian Pattison explained why we were marching and talked about the need for a united struggle against the cuts.
We then went back to the IWA where they put on Curry for us. Cheers guys.