By Cally Day, Save RAF Lossiemouth Campaigner
I am a housewife, mother, and now, an accidental campaigner.
On the 19th October 2010 our Prime Minister made a statement in the House of Commons stating that RAF Kinloss, in Moray is to close.
He also stated that the RAF are to lose two Tornado Squadrons.
While I watched in asolute shock and talking to friends on Facebook, I very quickly realised I was not alone.
So, I set about a Community Page on Facebook where people with concerns could discuss them and seek information and support. The page was a massive hit, reaching the thousands by evening.
Running a page with such strong running public feelings has been exhausting. A small delegation of family members and local businessmen from Lossiemouth soon set up their own little ‘Action Group’ and asked for my assistance in organising the March and Rally on the 7 November 2011.
I accepted and drummed up thousands of marchers and gave a little speech on behalf of the people.
Shortly after the march I became surplass to requirements and received hostile behaviour and comments disrespecting the page I had been running very successfully.
I was silenced by the group for fear of their lame ideas being ‘stolen’ by other campaigners. The chairman of the group took to making decisions without the unanimous approval from the group and was apposed to any suggestions, it wasn’t long before I realised that the whole momentum of the campaign was steadily loosing its origional interest. I left them to it. The best thing I could have done, however, it has not been without critisism, sometimes publically.
Meanwhile the local press had organised a petition which 32,000 members of the public signed, the editor had put it to the group that members take a bus to London to deliver them, the Chair once again was opposed to the idea and prefered the Four Cross Party Ministers to deliver it, so, when I left the group I suggested to the editor that we get the petition delivered as soon as possible as the people were good enough to sign it and were waiting to see it delivered. And with that the trip was organised.
The trip was an absolute success and an absolute pleasure and a privilegeto have been part of the delivery delegation.
Since leaving the restrictions of the group I have been able to build on our support base and distribute campaign material globally, securing the local bus firm to display bumper stickers accross their fleet and haulage companies to do the same.
Having direct contact with the public is something I think has helped the campaign to progress, the constant interaction has been a great deal of its success.
I have travelled many miles collecting signatures, suffered excruciatingly painful toes from standing in the snow for many hours selling wristbands and spent many hours, sometimes into the early hours, updating supporters about many issues including the latest news, help and support and building the website to run along side the Facebook Page.
This is not how I saw things turning out when I originally created the page, it has had its highs and its lows, but most of all I have learned to hold my head high and continue to fight for what I believe in despite any oposition or intimidation.
I have no hidden agenda, I’m not interested in gaining any position, job or status, I am simply trying to save the RAF from losing a fantastic air field and training base and the community which relies so heavily on the jobs it creates for many.
The whole story will be available in my blog in due course.