Concerning an appropriate Memorial for the Fallen in the War against Cruelty.
It’s already 24 years since Jill Phipps was killed in her home town of Coventry, England. She, along with and a handful of other protesters, were trying to stop calves being flown to the dark and painfully cramped confinement of foreign veal-crates. The flights did stop, but not before Jill’s brutal and unnecessary death.
Since then, and in almost every country around the world, people who remember her name know February 1st as ‘Jill’s Day’ and try to do something positive in her name; protests, actions, vigils. This is of course a memorial to Jill and one we love and appreciate. Yet there is a bitter-sweet quality about it to all of us who actually knew Jill because it is solely about her in Rainbow Warrior mode rather than the person she was the rest of the time. Make no mistake, the Rainbow Warrior in Jill was an important and never-to-be-denied part of her life. Yet there was so much more to her. And year by year the number of people who actually knew Jill gets smaller and smaller until not a single person will remain who can actually remember her details – her smile, her voice, her love of music, and making things; then there will just be her name on the internet, and a lead plaque in a Coventry graveyard. As this is true for Jill so must it also be true for the others, young Mike Hill and Tom Wharby. There is, however, an option to this slow fading away – a permanent and positive one we love the thought of and know Jill would because it was her dream in the first place. We feel sure the others would too.
Nowhere was Jill happier than when she was with her son Luke and partner Justin at a small woodland festival somewhere, the ones that allowed fires and even provided the firewood. At such times she felt she had everything she wanted – her family, good conversation over a good fire, music, classes, workshops… Jill loved it all! Her dream, the one that really made her eyes sparkle, was to have a few acres of woodland herself. She would add a few earth-friendly dwellings and structures such as yurts, tipis, a caravan or two, maybe even a treehouse. There would be a large central structure for communal things, separate structures for yoga, meditation and other things, and of course, a large fire-pit. In other words, Jill dreamed of her own mini festival that people could visit and enjoy.
And so we come to the idea – The Jill Phipps Memorial Woodland. All of the above, plus a structure filled with photos, videos and the surviving bits and pieces of her life before they are lost forever. At the same time, and in the same way, we would like to honour the names of the others. (please read Our Constitution). The plan is to make it a beautiful and unique year-round Vegan festival cum resort as well as a memorial. We want it to be a happy and positive place, somewhere enjoyable to drop into, whenever possible, that can develop and grow. That’s what Jill would want.
We plan to set it up so it can continue indefinitely into the future without owners or interference. Jill and the others will always be remembered properly, and a new and lovely Vegan place to visit will come into being with all sorts of possibilities for fun and betterment.
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Many, many thanks…