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Glastonbury & Street Green Party

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Green World Obituary: Denise Michell 1952-2020

Councillor Jon Cousins, Green Mayor of Glastonbury, pays tribute to Denise Michell, Archdruidess, Elder Ovate and Bard, ‘Fairy Queen’, and twice Green Mayor of Glastonbury.

First published in ‘Green World’ magazine – Wednesday, 24th June 2020.


Denise Michell 11th August 1952 – 22nd June 2020

Denise Michell (née Price) was born on 11th August 1952, and spent her early years in Barkingside, Redbridge.

She came to live in Glastonbury in 1997 and was an Archdruidess of the Glastonbury Order of Druids from 1998 to 2007 – subsequently becoming a founding member, Elder Ovate and Bard of the Gorsedh Ynys Witrin, Glastonbury’s Bardic College.

In April 2007, Denise married the celebrated author John Michell (1933–2009) at a ceremony held in Glastonbury’s St Benedict’s Church. It was a long courtship – they had first met 34 years earlier, when she was 21 and he was 40.

Partly in response to the government’s proposal that Hinkley Point C in Somerset would be one of the eight newly commissioned Nuclear Power Stations, Denise joined Glastonbury’s Green Party branch in 2010, and became an active campaigner encouraging local people to register to vote.

As Archdruidess, her profile helped to build support, and the local branch experienced a ‘Green Surge’ in 2010/11, which resulted in four Greens being elected to Glastonbury Town Council in May 2011 – Denise being one of the ‘Green Four’.

During their first term, Glastonbury’s Green Councillors implemented a Glastonbury ‘Green’ Charter for the Environment, installed solar panels onto the roof of the Town Hall, declared Glastonbury a Frack Free Council, and resolved to oppose the building of Hinkley C Nuclear Power Station.

Denise as Mayor Glastonbury (2nd left) with, L-R: Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb, Molly Scott Cato, Cllrs Jon Cousins and Emma George (second and third Green Mayors of Glastonbury respectively).

As Glastonbury’s Green surge continued, reflected by the national surge in membership from late 2014 onwards (turning Greens into the third largest party in England and Wales), Denise was re-elected in 2015 to become the 316th (and first ‘Green’) Worshipful Mayor of Glastonbury. Her first Mayoral resolution was to join the international anti-nuclear movement ‘Mayors For Peace’, a membership that all succeeding Mayors of Glastonbury have maintained.

As a councillor, Denise was a champion of Glastonbury’s ‘Beltane’ May Day festivities and the town’s annual Frost Fayre. Indeed, when she was first elected, she discovered that the 2011 Frost Fayre was in danger of being cancelled – and decided to take on the coordination of the event, helping to turn the Frost Fayre into a huge success, which has gone from strength to strength – so well attended and popular in 2019 that hundreds of would-be visitors were not even able to enter the town.

In their second term, Glastonbury Greens expanded to seven elected councillors, and took minority control of the town council. During this time, they banned the use of glyphosate on all public land – moving to a non-toxic weed control system, became the first council in Somerset to be ‘single-use plastic free’, and the first to declare a Climate Emergency – pledging to make council operations carbon-neutral by 2030.

In 2019, being returned as a town councillor for a third term (as part of nine Green town councillors – a majority!), Denise joined the small company of people who have been twice elected Mayor of Glastonbury.

During her second Mayoralty, she oversaw Glastonbury becoming the second ‘Earth Protector Town’ in the World – calling for an Amendment to The Rome Statute to include a Law against Ecocide.

When asked recently what it was like to be a councillor, Denise replied: “Working within the community I listen closely to what people would like to see happen in our town now and in the future, and – as a councillor – I can help bring change for the benefit of everyone in our community.”

Glastonbury’s ‘Green Four’ with Caroline Lucas at Hinkley Point in 2012 L-R: Jon Cousins, Caroline Lucas, Alyson Black, Denise, and Ian Forster.

Denise passed away in the early hours of Monday 22nd June 2020. News of her death was announced by her children Zig, Zoe, Rowan and Leah on social media: “It is with broken hearts that we must share with you that our mum has completed her journey here on Earth and is now on her way to join the ancestors in the stars. Thank you to each and every one of you who has been a part of our mum’s life adventures. We ask that you light a candle, say a prayer and send her on her way with love. Love and light. May there be peace in the sacred grove.”

Personally, I am devastated by the passing of my dear friend. Denny was an incredible person, who loved Glastonbury to the core of her being and did so much for our community. She will be greatly missed. On behalf of Glastonbury Council and the local Green Party, I send my deepest condolences to her family.


Click here to view the obituary in ‘Green World’.

Cllr. Denise Michell, RIP.

It is with great sadness that Glastonbury and Street Green Party announce the passing of Cllr. Denise Michell – Green Mayor of Glastonbury 2015/16/19/20.

The sad news of Denise’s death was posted this morning on Facebook by her children: Zig, Zoe, Rowan, Leah:

It is with broken hearts that we must share with you that our mum has completed her journey here on Earth and is now on her way to join the ancestors in the stars 🌟
Thank you to each and every one of you who has been a part of our mum’s life adventures ❤️
We ask that you light a candle, say a prayer and send her on her way with love ❤️
Love and light ❤️ May there be peace in the sacred grove ❤️

Glastonbury’s current Mayor, Cllr. Jon Cousins, said:  “I am devastated by the passing of my dear friend and fellow councillor Denise Michell. Denny was an incredible person, who loved Glastonbury to the core of her being and did so much for our community. She will be greatly missed. On behalf of Glastonbury Council, I send my deepest condolences to her family.”

Glastonbury’s Virtual Summer Solstice!

Glastonbury Town Council has worked with Mendip District Council, Glastonbury Information Centre, Avon and Somerset Police, Redpath Creative, and Glastonbury Festival to create and promote a VIRTUAL Summer Solstice event on Sunday, 21st June.

Please join us as we go live to stream the Summer Solstice sunrise from Glastonbury.

Streaming will star from 0430 BST (0330 GMT) so we capture the sunrise at 0455 BST (0355 GMT). Following this we will have a multifaith ceremony and family activities, including singing, crafts and music.

0500 BST (0400 GMT): Salutation to the Dawn and A Ceremony of Light
We invite you to light a candle, wherever in the world you are, with the Glastonbury Unity Candle and the Silent Minute for Peace. Filmed and streamed by Kevin Redpath. With the Green Mayor of Glastonbury – Councillor Jon Cousins, Mistress of Ceremonies – Morgana West, Glastonbury Town Crier – David Greenway, and Elder Bard of Avalon – Lisa Goodwin.

Glastonbury Beltane Celebrations Cancelled

Please respect our town and community and do not attempt to travel to Glastonbury over the Beltane weekend – 1st to 4th May 2020.

Sadly, the Glastonbury Beltane (May Day) Celebrations on Friday, 1st May 2020 are cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Town Council and Police respectfully ask people to observe physical distancing, limit close contact with others, and not to gather – to celebrate Beltane, or for any other reason – at the Market Place, White Spring, etc., on Friday 1st, Saturday 2nd, Sunday 3rd, or Monday 4th May.

Please Note:

As a result of COVID-19, the Government has stated that every person in the UK must comply with the following three new measures, which came into effect on Monday, 23rd March 2020.

1) Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes.

2) Closing certain businesses and venues.

3) Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public.

The relevant authorities, including the police, have been given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

Statement regarding recent Facebook comments

Glastonbury and Street Green Party wish to distance themselves from and strongly condemn recent comments posted on Facebook about the ‘Jail Attacks’ story written by April Roach in The Sun on 12th April 2020, and would like to confirm that the Green Party recognises that there are many gender identities that are within, and outside of, the traditional gender binary of man and woman.

The Green Party recognises that trans men are men, trans women are women, and that non-binary identities exist and are valid.

The Green Party respects transgender and non-binary people’s identities as real.

The Green Party shall include, and push for further acceptance of, transgender and non-binary people within all areas of society.

The Green Party’s Responsibilities & Rights Policy can be found here:

https://policy.greenparty.org.uk/rr.html

Coronavirus Covid-19 Information & Advice

This Glastonbury Town Council page hopes to provide the most up to date information & advice from a number of sources. Please check regularly for updates.

Symptoms
The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:

  • new continuous cough and/or
  • high temperature

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild infection.

Stay at Home Guidance
People who are in the community with a fever or cough do not usually need testing. Individuals with a high temperature or new, continuous cough should stay at home for 14 days. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. People do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999. For more information click here

Social Distancing
Everyone should stop non-essential contact with others. That means people should work from home where possible and avoid pubs, clubs and theatres. The advice on people avoiding non-essential contact is particularly important for people who are over-70, for people who are pregnant and for people with underlying health conditions. The vulnerable group includes those who are normally advised to have the flu vaccine. For more information click here

GOV.UK
The official Government page with up to date information & guidance. For all the latest official updates click here

Glastonbury Coronavirus Support Network
Facebook Group connecting volunteers with those in need of assistance. If you can volunteer, or if you need assistance, please email glastonburycommunity@gmail.com or contact Kama on 07821 258383 or Tanya on 07912 074879

Glastonbury Coronavirus Support
Are you over the age of 70 or self-isolating for health reasons? Please don’t feel that you are alone. If you have access to the internet please email glastonburycommunity@gmail.com Also, if you feel lonely from being stuck indoors, there are volunteers happy to give you a call to check if you are OK. If you need support with food or medical supplies please call Kama on 07821 258383 or Tanya on 07912 074879

A Second Climate Emergency People’s Assembly

11 am to 3:30 pm on Saturday, 25th January at Glastonbury Town Hall.

Glastonbury Town Council’s Climate Emergency Working Group will hold a second People’s Assembly in the Town Hall.  This is an opportunity for residents to collectively discuss the urgent situation created by climate change and ecological destruction and make decisions, so that all voices are heard and equally valued.

The Main Hall will be open from 11 am to 3:30 pm and will accommodate more people than the October People’s Assembly, when the small hall was filled to capacity. Presentations will take place between 11 am and 12 noon. The Assembly is scheduled from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm.

Presentations – 11 am to 12 noon:

  • Robert Macbeth (Glastonbury Growers Group)
  • Anna Francis (Frome Resilience Officer)
  • Sonya Bedford (Avalon Community Energy)
  • Jon Cousins (Green Deputy Mayor, Town and District Councillor)

People’s Assembly – 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm:

The next step toward building a resilient community.

Following our successful People’s Assembly in October, we will continue the discussion on these topics: Transport, Food, and the Local Environment. The Assembly will be facilitated by Extinction Rebellion’s Indra Donfrancesco.

This is an on-going process. In the short-term we need to have local strategies and actions for living with a reduced environmental impact. In the longer term we may even find ourselves having to provide basic services from our own community resources. Future assemblies will discuss other areas that need addressing: e.g. energy, health care, waste-disposal, education.

Please come to ensure your voice is heard!

General Election Announcement for the Wells Constituency

With the general election approaching, the local Green Parties with members living in the Wells constituency were asked by the national party to stand aside our constituency candidate. This part of a series of electoral arrangements known as Unite to Remain which involves The Green Party, Liberal Democrats, and Plaid Cymru aiming to encourage as many remain constituency victories as possible.

Wells is a Lib Dem target seat. In exchange, they are standing aside in nine key Green target constituencies.

Having balloted members in the Wells constituency last week, the Green Party will not be fielding a candidate in Wells.

Deals such as this also provoke controversy and unhappiness, as the recent news coverage has highlighted. But while our electoral system remains unreformed, these sorts of deals represent the best chance the Green Party has at gaining further representation in Parliament. Given the political crisis and climate emergency, this has never been more crucial.

Climate Emergency – People’s Assembly

Glastonbury’s Green Deputy Mayor, Cllr. Jon Cousins, will open Glastonbury’s Climate Emergency – People’s Assembly at 1 pm on Saturday, 26th October at Glastonbury Town Hall. Doors open 12:30 pm, event closes at 3 pm.

In February, Glastonbury became the first council in Somerset to declare a ‘Climate Emergency’ – and pledge to make the operation of the council carbon neutral by 2030 – when it passed a motion to address the impact created through the misuse of our planet by mankind.  Many other councils have since followed Glastonbury’s lead, including Mendip District Council and Somerset County Council.

Our town, countryside, and the way we live will be increasingly affected by flooding, access to food sources, transport, and communication. How can we ensure that we have a resilient and sustainable community that we will be proud to leave for the next generation? What practical steps can we take? What can we offer? To learn more, join us to listen to presentations and view exhibits.

Come along and learn more about the depth of the issue and find out how to make your voice heard.

Speakers include:

  • Bruce Garrard: Resilience, Restoration, Relinquishment, and Reconciliation (the 4Rs)
  • Cllr. Paul Lund: the United Nations Conference of People 25 (UNCOP 25)
  • Cllr. Lindsay MacDougall, Green Mendip District Councillor for Glastonbury St. Mary’s Ward and Hayley Warren, Mendip District Council’s Climate Change Officer: Climate Emergency

After the speakers, a People’s Assembly will be held – this is a format which ensures every person’s voice is heard and, together, a community plan of action will be created.

For more information contact Glastonbury Town Council:
e-mail: office@glastonbury.gov.uk
telephone: 01458 831 769

To reduce your carbon footprint please either walk, cycle, car share, or use public transport.

Glastonbury Becomes World’s 2nd Earth Protector Town

Following a unanimous vote at the September meeting of the Town Council, Glastonbury has become the second Town Council in the world to become an Earth Protector Town and is now part of the programme which will be completed next year on World Earth Day, producing a framework which will then be rolled out globally.

This radical step means that the town undertakes to collaborate and cooperate with all to put the Earth First and support the realignment of Law, pledging to the moral code of: ‘first do no harm’.

It may sound like an impossible dream, given the precarious nature of systems in the World at the moment, but the Earth Protectors movement to Stop Ecocide has organised a Global Crowd Trust fund to provide legal support to small island states to go to the International Criminal Court and seek an Amendment to The Rome Statute to include a Law against Ecocide. Together we have the power to change the World, literally.

There are already four Crimes against Peace:

  • The Crime of Genocide
  • War Crimes
  • Crimes against Humanity
  • Crimes of Aggression.

The Crime of Ecocide was originally to be included in The Rome Statute, but was dropped at the last moment from undue pressure by four wealthy nations, including the UK.

From the moment an Application to Stop Ecocide is accepted by the ICC, there will be an immediate effect on multinationals’ and governments’ behaviour, as insurers and banks will gradually withdraw their support from any industrial activity that is related to ecocide.

From the moment Ecocide becomes a crIminal offence and not a civil offence, CEOs and Government Officials will risk going to jail, and insurers and bankers will cease to support their activities altogether. At present CEOs highest legal responsibility is to their shareholders to make a profit. This will come to an end.

The Earth Protectors movement Stop Ecocide continues to steadily gain ground, attracting support from a range of notable people and barristers, from Deepak Chopra to Dame Janet Goodall, from the late Michael Meacher to David Hart QC and Michael Stewart QC. Other towns are on the road to becoming Earth Protector towns such as Totnes, and Frome. There are also towns in Greece and Portugal moving towards pledging themselves.

In line with declaring itself an Earth Protector Town (working from the bottom at local level), Glastonbury has also passed a motion to support the passing of an Ecocide law at the Highest Judicial Court in the World recognised by the United Nations (working from the top down). It is envisaged that these two interlinked movements will pay a large part in the reshaping of the world in response to the current Ecological Social, and Economic climate, and will give our children hope for the future as we undergo a paradigm shift in order to survive.

There will be a short Ceremony marking the Pledge for Glastonbury to become an Earth Protector town during the Second Climate Emergency Event and People’s Assembly at the Town Hall on Saturday, 26th October. The entire community will be very welcome to attend on what the Council hopes will be a very special occasion.

For more information about Earth Protector Towns and Stop Ecocide, please click HERE.