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Glastonbury & Street Green Party

Archive for Alyson Black

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’.

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

 

Civic Inauguration of 4th Green Deputy Mayor!

On Sunday, 10th June, Green Councillor Alyson Black was formally inaugurated as the Deputy Mayor of Glastonbury at St. John’s Church.

Deputy Mayor Alyson Black and Escort Linda Little at Glastonbury Town Hall on Mayor’s Sunday, 10th June 2018.

Alyson, who is Chair of Glastonbury’s Fairtrade Town Steering Group, will also become Chair of the Town Council’s Finance and General Purposes Committee as part of her new role. Outside of her work as a Town Councillor, Alyson spends time volunteering for Glastonbury Abbey’s wildlife area and for rescued horses.

Speaking about being Deputy Mayor, Alyson said, “This year, as my focus, I would like to work with the wildlife organisations in our area to protect and develop wildlife sanctuaries, and also Glastonbury’s wildlife corridors – as mentioned in the Neighbourhood Plan.

Volunteers Week Launched by Glastonbury’s new Deputy Mayor

Make a difference to your local community through volunteering” was the message when CSW You Can Do joined Glastonbury’s new, Green, Deputy Mayor Cllr. Alyson Black to celebrate the launch of Volunteers Week 2018 by hosting a Volunteer Fair at Glastonbury Town Hall, on Friday 1st June.

This was Alyson’s first official engagement as Deputy Mayor of Glastonbury, a role in which she will be formally inaugurated on Mayor’s Sunday later this month!

Congratulations Alyson Black, our new Deputy Mayor

Glastonbury & Street Green Party is delighted to announce that Green Councillor Alyson Black was elected Deputy Mayor of Glastonbury with a unanimous vote at last night’s Town Council ‘Mayor Making’ meeting.

Alyson, who has served on Glastonbury Council for the St. Edmund’s Ward since 2011, becomes the town’s fourth Green Deputy Mayor in five years!

Although she is our new Deputy, Alyson is no stranger to Mayoral Engagements because she was the Deputy Mayor’s Escort to Glastonbury’s first Green Deputy Mayor – Cllr. Denise Michell – in 2014/2015.

Alyson’s formal Civic Inauguration will take place at St. John’s Church on Mayor’s Sunday, 10th June.

Association highlights GSGP achievements

The Association of Green Councillors (AGC) has highlighted Glastonbury & Street Green Party’s members in their national review of ‘Green Councillor Achievements – Changing the way councils think 2014-2016’

Glastonbury’s Green Councillors feature at the top of the list of ‘Firsts’ – “celebrating Green solutions are cheaper and better for people”.

Featuring the Green led Town Council’s ban of chemical herbicides – proposed by Cllr Alyson Black in June 2015 – and the Council’s subsequent adoption of non-toxic weed control, the AGC website states:  “Glastonbury Greens managed to implement what is thought to be the country’s first ban on chemical herbicides (for use on council owned areas). They introduced Foamstream, an eco-friendly herbicide as a replacement.”

To find out more please visit the AGC website HERE.

Foamstream, a Green alternative to glyphosate!

In 2015 – following a resolution made by Green Councillors Alyson Black and Emma George – Glastonbury became the first UK Council to ban traditional, chemical herbicides such as glyphosate.  This film looks at the alternative weed-control method that Glastonbury Town Council has chosen: Foamstream.

Glastonbury Town Council’s resolution to ban chemical herbicides and use a plant-based alternative has been used as an example by both Bristol City Council and Shaftesbury Town Council in their moves to change from chemical herbicides to more environmentally friendly solutions; the Green Councillor’s initiative has been praised by literally thousands of people on social media and Glastonbury’s story has featured in articles and publications.

If you would like your Council to ban chemical herbicides – please share and re-post this video.  Let’s show that there is a different way of doing things for the common good!

Town hails weed control after banning chemical from Horticulture Week (29 April 2016).

The Glastonbury GREEN – By-election Special !

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#VOTEPAUL2016

Glastonbury Bans Glyphosate!

‘Weed out the cancer risks’ Glastonbury bans glyphosate - 18th June 2015, Central Somerset Gazette.

‘Weed out the cancer risks’ Glastonbury bans glyphosate – 18th June 2015, Central Somerset Gazette.

Glastonbury Town Council has banned the herbicide glyphosate from being used on all publicly-owned land in the town.

Green Councillor Emma George said “Many Glastonbury residents became concerned about the herbicide following an assessment of its carcinogenicity by the International Agency for Research on Cancer – the specialised cancer agency of the World Health Organization – who classified glyphosate as probably carcinogenic to humans in March 2015”.

Cllr George and fellow Green Cllr Alyson Black have been holding talks with Mendip District Council, the Landscape Group, and Weedingtech – the makers of the non-toxic weed-control ‘Foamstream’ – to look at trialling an alternative approach to glyphosate herbicides.

‘Changing how town tackles weeds’ – glyphosate article – 27th August 2015, Central Somerset Gazette.

‘Changing how town tackles weeds’ – glyphosate article – 27th August 2015, Central Somerset Gazette.