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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’.

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

Molly is re-elected!

The Green Party is celebrating a spectacular election result that has seen the number of MEPs in England double, rising from three to seven!

The first Brussels Green Party representatives were elected in the Eastern, North West, West Midlands, and Yorkshire and Humber regions.  Greens seats were retained in London, the South East, and here in the South West, where Molly Scott Cato was re-elected.

Nationally, our votes topped 2 million and we finished fourth in the total vote above the Conservative Party, the first time the Greens have beaten the Tories in a national election…

Green co-leader, Sian Berry, said: “Following on from our spectacular local election results where we more than doubled our representation, tonight’s result is proof of the size and power of the Green Wave that is sweeping across the country.  Our message of ‘yes to Europe, no to climate change’ clearly resonated strongly with voters, many of whom will have been casting their vote for our party for the first time.  We topped the poll in Bristol, Norwich, and Brighton and Hove, and scored brilliant seconds in Sheffield, Cambridge, and Oxford.”

In Mendip, we came third – beating both Conservatives and Labour – taking a staggering 22.8% (302,364) of the vote!


European Parliamentary Elections, Thursday 23rd May 2019

Help re-elect Molly Scott Cato as Green MEP for the South West

Molly has been clear on Brexit and has campaigned across the region for a People’s Vote and to stop the Brexit chaos.

Molly has been strong on climate, campaigning for rapid investment in renewables, working on sustainable finance law, and helping shaping a Green New Deal.

Molly is an economist who has challenged rising inequality and fought tax avoidance by large companies and the ultra-wealthy.

As well as Molly, we have five other outstanding candidates on the Green list: Cleo Lake, Carla Denyer, Tom Scott, Martin Dimery, and Karen La Borde.

Why is this election so crucial?
This European Parliament election on 23rd May is the most important in our history.  As we teeter on the brink of a catastrophic Brexit it offers us a vital opportunity to show that the will of the people has changed.  Molly is the most clearly Remain MEP in the South West.  A strong vote for Molly and the Green Party will help increase pressure for a People’s Vote; and we can use the European Elections as a proxy referendum.

Just as importantly, you can help make sure that EU policies develop in a way that’s good for the environment, good for the climate, and good for people’s quality of life.

Local Elections Triumph!

In our most successful local elections ever, the following Green Party Candidates have been elected in the Mendip District of the Wells Constituency:

Mendip District Council:
Glastonbury St. John’s Ward – Jon Cousins
Glastonbury St. Mary’s Ward – Lindsay MacDougall

Wells City Council:
Wells Central – Pam Crummay
Wells St. Thomas – Jennifer Rust
Wells St. Cuthberts – Sarah Briton and Jennifer Linsdell

Glastonbury Town Council:
Glastonbury St. Benedict’s Ward – Denise Michell, Ian Mutch, and Brian Outten
Glastonbury St. Edmund’s Ward – Jon Cousins and Serena Roney-Dougal
Glastonbury St. John’s Ward – Sue Barnett and Christine Prior
Glastonbury St. Mary’s Ward – Lindsay MacDougall and Mike Smyth

With nine out of the 16 seats, we now have overall control of Glastonbury Town Council!

Many thanks to all, including those who stood but did not get elected, those who leafletted, and those who voted.

Green Priorities for Glastonbury in the Town and District elections!

Green View No.2 ‘Glastonbury Declares Climate Emergency’

Green View No.1 ‘Funeral For The Planet’…?

 

Green Councillors In The News!

PRESS RELEASE: Glastonbury Declares Climate Emergency.

by Dr Richard Tabor.

Published in the Central Somerset Gazette on Thursday, 28th February 2019.

In a rare moment of consensus ten of eleven Glastonbury Town Council members attending a meeting depleted by illness on Tuesday 12th February voted to pass a motion declaring a Climate Emergency put forward by two former mayors. Only Conservative representative and County Councillor Terry Napper abstained as other members from all parties voted in favour.

Green Party councillor Jon Cousins spoke to the motion which was supported by his colleague, Emma George. Citing the dire consequences of a 1.5 degree rise in global temperatures highlighted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Global Warming’s 2018 special report on Climate Change the council’s ambitious Climate Emergency committed Glastonbury to:

“1) Continue to show foresight and leadership when it comes to addressing the issue of Climate Change, having adopted an Environmental Charter, opposed fracking in the Mendips and throughout the UK, installed solar panels on the Town Hall roof, and banned single use plastics;
2) pledge to make the operation of Glastonbury Town Council carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions.”

After reading out the motion Councillor Cousins spoke of the “unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”, reminding his colleagues that Climate Change is a serious issue effecting everyone. He noted that Town Councillors as representatives of the community needed to take action because seemingly insignificant every-day actions, such as discarding a plastic bag, can have far reaching consequences as demonstrated by the vast amount of plastic waste floating in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

He went on to say that the decisions we make now as individuals, as communities and as a nation will be judged by our children and grandchildren who will have to deal with the consequences. In calling for the motion to be adopted he concluded that the council had a duty to future generations to be on the ‘right side of history’. He received eloquent support from Councillor Emma George who explained that other Councils across the UK had already passed similar motions and had pledged to make their towns carbon neutral by 2030. Only Councillor Napper was unwilling to support the motion as he felt that the word ‘pledge’ was too strong. The passing of the vote was received with huge cheer from an uncharacteristically full public gallery.

Green Lord Mayor visits Glastonbury!

The Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Bristol, Green Cllr. Cleo Lake

The Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Bristol, Green Cllr. Cleo Lake will be opening Somerset Multicultural Association’s Black History Month Free Family Fun Day at the Red Brick Building, Glastonbury at 12 noon on Sunday, 7th October.

The event includes performances by TANGLE Theatre Company, Benji & Hibbz, and Oska Zaky – as well as children’s activities, talks, and workshops.

Somerset Multicultural Association’s aim is to bring BME people who live in rural Somerset together, as well as inviting the community as a whole to learn about and celebrate Black history and culture.

To find out more, please visit:
https://www.facebook.com/events/783037425233813/