The Runway Ramble and Rally at the Gardens of Easton Lodge on 29 September was a great success. Over 2,000 people attended the rally in the historic gardens in the afternoon.
Ramblers left around noon to walk across the countryside from many directions. The largest group of 340 left Molehill Green, threatened with being wiped out of existence by an enlarged airport, to walk the 4 km to Little Easton. There were people of all ages, including babies in buggies and children in trailers hauled along the footpaths and green lanes by their parents. Over 80 people walked all the way from Thaxted, a distance of 10 km.
The sight of nearly five hundred people walking down the final stretch of farm road at Brookend, banners in full display, and crying "No more runways!" was a sure sign of the mass protest and determination of people around Stansted not to allow the 8-fold growth envisaged by the Government.
These sentiments were echoed at the rally by Norman Mead and Alan Dean from the Stop Stansted Expansion Campaign. Alan Dean said: "I dream that my grandchildren's children will be able to picnic in this countryside and that it will not have been buried in concrete".
The rally was compered by world famous campaigner against unsustainable air transport, Jeff Gazzard. He assured the crowd enjoying the late September sunshine: "This campaign can be won! We have recently stopped airports in France and Sweden, so local people can be reassured it can be done here - if they fight hard."
The rally included a children's fancy dress competition, a prize for the most distant participant - a man from New Zealand, and for the best protest display. This was won by a group from Manuden with a large model aeroplane and a massive vapour trail banner listing all the pollutants that planes emit.
Perhaps the highlight of the afternoon was the first public performance of the campaign song "Voices of the Future" with lyrics by Kim Blake and music composed by Barrington Pheloung. The song is due to be launched on CD in the next few week. SSE vice chairman, Peter Gowan, said "This could get into the charts".
Ramble organiser Alan Dean commented after all the ramblers had left for the trek or drive home: "Sunday's ramble put the Stansted campaign on the national and international map. We had television cameras, including BBC World. The unsustainability of inland monstosity airports anywhere, not just at Stansted, is firmly fixed in everyone's mind now."
Photographs of the event can be found at: