I am proud to be an honorary Greenham Common
woman. Let me explain. Shortly after the camp was set up in the autumn of 1981
, the media was naturally pushing the story, about how 'ordinary' women were making such a fuss over cruise missiles.
I heard an interview on the radio with one of these extraordinary women, who described the conditions at one of the camps, and was moved by their dedication, determination and organisation. So moved, in fact, that I decided to help. I carefully packed a rucksac full of food, candles and camping gas and set off on the Saturday morning.
It was a dreary, drizzly day, and I was hitchhiking (something I always enjoyed) down into Berkshire with this full pack. Managing to get lost along the way, I arrived after five hours, numb-thumbed and soaking, to be greeted by two dripping women standing outside a tent. I announced my purpose and asked where I could take the goodies. They introduced me to a third woman, who proceeded to help me unpack the provisions, after which we had a nice cup of tea, and she asked me why I had done it.
I began to explain when she suddenly realised how far I had come, and how (Nottingham is about 150 miles away). She asked where I was going next, and I replied "Back home". Was I visiting anyone nearby? No, I said, I'm not - I'm going back home. To Nottingham, hitchhiking? Yes, I was. Suddenly, she called someone else over, and everyone became quite excited. They thought I'd come from a local town or village, God knows why, I looked like a drowned rat. In any event, they made something of a fuss over me, then gave me some soup and crackers, which I gratefully accepted.
We talked for a while about committment and peace, about the media and the weather, about how they would cope. I met more of the protestors, was given a tour of their muddy camp, saw the fences about the base. Then they dropped their bombshell. They went into a huddle for a few minutes, and then asked, "Would I mind being an honorary Greenham woman?" No, I said, I wouldn't. In fact, I would consider that an honour.
So there I was, in the midst of these brave protestors, feeling very much one of them. It changed me. I felt proud to have made this little contribution, not just of food and supplies, but of solidarity and compassion. "Not bad, for a bloke", as one of them remarked.