A report from Salli Martlew, AIUK Wakefield group member, organiser of a local event for the Great Get Together project, celebrating the work of Jo Cox.
The Great Get Together and Wakefield Walk
22 June 2017
Sunshine made all the difference! We arrived at Heath Common at 6.30am to find gazebos and marquees already being erected. The first of the 35km team of walkers set off at 7am and were next seen sore footed and sweaty at 3pm.
The 5km walk provided its own delightful surprises. Individuals who came for a stroll to Kirkthorpe and back pal-ed up with groups and individuals and then shared tea, or a beer, at the end of the walk. Conversations obviously unfinished!
Although it was Ramadan the Imam from Wakefield Central Mosque walked up with a friend to spend time with us before the music began. We started with Eastern music followed by local Merrie City Singers and then Red Shed poets who returned later in the afternoon. A sixth former with guitar and beautiful voice gave way to Skinny Living who had us all bopping.
Meanwhile White Watch turned up with their fire engine ~ what a cheerful crew to instruct and amuse young and old. The Mayor and Mayoress of Normanton I found tucking into scones and home made jam, later joined by the Mayor and Mayoress of Wakefield. They all had time to chat with folk. On stage Olivia from Tesco had us clapping and cheering. Back Chat Brass ~ the modern version of the old brass band whose antics had us clapping, laughing and even dancing, joined by our local MP Yvette Cooper.
With ice cream, tea and cakes, plus burgers and beer if you popped along to the pub, most just absorbed the sunshine, music and cheerful ambience. The bouncy castle bounced all afternoon. Quieter moments for the young were catered for in a shady tent with lots of crayons.
A delightful duo Sarah and Will lifted all spirits, then Jonathan and his Ukulele group lead us through a singalong. Daisy and Glenn who had sorted out the afternoon’s music brought the event to a close with their own choices. Nick Martlew, the instigator of it all, stood up in his bright red Great Get Together t-shirt, flat cap and broad smile to echo the appreciation and joy of everyone there.
The Great Get Together, the teamwork, all enjoying ourselves in the sunshine and finally everyone left standing taking down the tents and packing up to leave Heath Common at the end of a still sunny, satisfying, nay joyous occasion, was heartening in the moment. Jo loved a party!
Salli A Martlew, 2017
Glenn, Daisy and Jon.