We’re pleased to report that the Bury St Edmunds Labour branch fundraiser (on 13th October) was a great success, raising just over £800 for future campaigning.
The event ran from 14.00 to 22.00 in the Unitarian Meeting House.
Visitors were pleased to have a chance to engage with local politics, with talks and Q&As from local councillors and Norwich MP Clive Lewis. There was a great focus on the local community and what we can do to support it.
Luke Cresswell came from Sudbury to speak about the importance of having multiple ‘voices’ on councils to provide greater balance to local politics – and how every vote matters, especially on a local level. Later, Max Clarke told us about the great success of the community barbecue and the celebration of World Cleanup Day that he organised on St Olaves (he’s hoping that the rest of Bury will join in next September, and it’s looking likely!). Max showed real pride in his constituency and in his constituents, which was heartwarming to see.
Sweta Choudhury, a prominent activist with Stop the War Coalition, talked to us about her journey: from listening to her parents speak of injustices in India to her political engagement in the UK. She spoke passionately about the need for peace, and the importance of breaking free from political apathy.
Attendees also got the chance to discuss environmental issues with headline speaker Clive Lewis, who spoke passionately and engagingly about sustainable economics. This a topic which interests many in Bury St Edmunds – a town that prizes the beauty of nature and wishes to preserve it – and so we weren’t surprised to see so many local residents attend. Clive then took time to provide detailed answers for questions on several topics.
We also heard an assortment of poetry from two Bury bards: Joanna Hagan-Young’s self-effacing and beautifully metered feminist lines, and Jess Kemp’s hard hitting truths about sex education and body image, resulting in roars of applause from the entire room.
As the night grew dark, the pulpit of the Unitarian was lit up by the inimitable Attila the Stockbroker, whose unique brand of verbose political ranting contrasted poignantly with some more personal verses. At the heart of both were issues that concern so many in this town: respect for the lessons of history, the sanctity of the NHS, and the need for empathy towards our fellow citizens.
It wouldn’t be an all-dayer without music, and Bury’s bands came good. Earlier in the day we heard from ‘Vorte’, an Alternative Rock band with socialist overtones, as well as ‘Spring-Heeled Jack’ performing some classic Americana Blues songs from over the years.
The evening closed with a set from ‘Thy Last Drop’, who never fail to rouse an audience. Chairs were pushed to the sides and attendees found a last burst of energy as the Victoriana band led them in dance.
Bury St Edmunds Labour Branch would like to extend their utmost thanks to all who volunteered their time, energy and resources to making the night a success. From branch members manning the bar, to performers lugging their equipment in and out of an 18th Century building, to the excellent caterers and sound engineer, and of course to the local politicians who made the effort to engage with their community.
See you again next year, which will be the centenary of the Bury St Edmunds Labour Party!