I was a young mother when I joined our local CND group in Borehamwood in Hertfordshire. That’s when I started regular visits to Greenham to deliver wood and other necessities collected by Pat and other local CND members. I was the driver, Pat was the contact. She rode shotgun.
Pat was secretary of our local CND group. Such was the feeling of oppression at that time that she made sure that she hid her list of CND members in case she was raided by the police. This may have been overly paranoid. Who knows? But, there was always a police presence at Greenham, so I don’t think I’m being paranoid in thinking that my number plate is recorded somewhere on a police computer!
My memories are of wood smoke and women. Women of all ages, shapes and sizes. I have the feeling that the reasons for the women being there were diverse. All were passionately anti-nuclear. Most were free-standing women who had a cause to follow. For some Greenham was a refuge – some just needed to be away from men. And some had complex needs and problems that the other women helped them through. I’m sure there were disagreements but the impression I got was of a band of sisters.
My task was to help distribute the things we’d brought and then to ferry women to and from the Quaker Meeting House in Newbury. The Quakers – peace-loving people – had adapted part of their premises to include a small oven, a shower and a washing machine and tumble drier so the Greenham women could have some time when they were warm, clean and dry.
I was never there for the clashes with police but heard of the brutality of some. The only man I ever came into contact with there was an unfortunate cub reporter who wanted to do an interview with some of the women. He started badly by addressing them as ‘ladies’ and it went downhill from there. Poor lad – he was out-classed and out-manoeuvred. He quickly retreated. I hope he learnt from it.