Children Flag Up Their Love Of Threatened Villages
Flags created by children concerned about the possible loss of their home villages, were the focus of a spring project that culminated in a half-term parade through those villages on Friday 29th May.
Volunteers from Heathrow Arts (Harts), a group set up by residents living in the Heathrow area and based in Sipson, have spent many weeks working with local children, including pupils from Cherry Lane Children’s Centre in West Drayton and William Byrd School in Harlington.
The children designed and made fabric flags that depicted their love for their homes and communities. These had been strung on lampposts along a route of lanes from Harmondsworth village at the north-west boundary of the airport, through Sipson, then to Harlington, to the north east of Heathrow. Community life in all three villages is likely to be lost if the Airports Commission recommends a third runway at Heathrow. The Commission closed its air pollution consultation at noon on Friday and the recommendation should be announced by the end of June.
Planning for the event had taken place during a spell of sunny spring weather but rain greeted the children and adults who gathered in St Mary’s Church Hall in Harmondsworth for the 11am start. Fun activities kept the children amused before the group braved the rain on Harmondsworth Village Green and set off for Sipson. BBC London reporters interviewed several of the adults on the walk for the 6.30pm regional news.
Despite the wet weather, spirits were high with entertainment provided by a musical bike. The first stop was at Grow Heathrow, which is a community project set up by environmentalists who first came to the village in 2007 and set up the facility on disused land in 2010.
After a warm welcome and a cup of tea, everyone on the march was then given a wonderful, tasty cooked lunch in the cosy dining room that has been put together in an old glasshouse that was once used to produce out-of-season fruits for the London markets. Exotic fruit and veg is now flown into Heathrow in the bellies of large passenger aircraft.
The children were enthralled by a tour of the site conducted by fairytale princesses. They also learnt how to make “grow-cakes” (clay balls with compost & seeds in the centre). Then at 3pm it was off for the penultimate leg of the walk, a straight mile down Sipson Lane to Harlington.
The group arrived on Harlington Village Green for a photo-shoot in front of the mural. It was a shame there was more rain but it didn’t dampen the group’s enthusiasm and they carried on down to the church Hall in Harlington for tea, cake and more fun activities. (Professional photos are on Demotix.com).