Following Monday’s announcement by the Government on the confirmed proposed route for HS2 there is plenty of winter woe amongst the anti HS2 movement but that is quickly being dissipated by Celebrity Cheer!
John Craven OBE himself arrived in Wendover on Tuesday 21st December to attend a sound demonstration organised by STOPHS2 supporters Adam Thomas, Agnes Fletcher, Sue Bishop, Robin Stubbs and Jen Hallesey. Lizzy Williams Chairman of STOPHS2 introduced the team to Countryfile following contact from their researcher Zoe Curtis. The sound demonstration consisted of the noise of a TGV at a level consistent with that expected of the HS2 trains.
Mr Craven braved the cold and snow travel chaos with his team to spend the entire day in Wendover walking the ancient streets, speaking to and interviewing the public. His presence delighted young and old and his charming and attentive manner was very impressive. He even took time to do a little last minute Christmas shopping in the town and was seen purchasing a Big Issue Magazine from a retailer. John has connections with the area as he used to live here.
The Countryfile team were there to objectively listen to and film the events of the day. John and his team were clearly surprised at the noise of the TGV recording and overwhelmed by the 200-300 people who came to listen to the noise in the Market Square at 11.00 that morning.
It was bitterly, bitterly cold but despite the dire circumstances under which the gathering was being held, the fighting spirit of all kept everyone warm, focused and determined. It was impossible to count the actual numbers but the photos show the strength of attendance. National and local newspapers alike also attended including the Daily Mail.
John and his team listened and filmed speeches from Marion Clayton, Wendover AG, Shirley Judges, Chilterns Conservation Board, Lizzy Williams STOPHS2 and Kathryn Gurney of HS2AA. The core message from the speakers remained No Business Case, No Environmental Case and No money to pay for HS2.
The programme is due to be aired the second week in January 2011.
The previous day, more celebrity support had been added to the campaign by the appearance of Geoffrey Palmer at an anti HS2 event at Great Missenden Village Hall. Interviewed by Channel 4 Geoffrey slated the Government “Now it is a Transformational Benefit. A what? A Transformational – what is that? Where is the evidence for this Transformational Fairy Godmother – wave my wand at pantomime time”.
Many had skied or sledged their way to the hall. Supporters from further afield were snowbound and unable to get to the event due to the snow travel chaos. Indeed similar events elsewhere along the line had to be abandoned because people were completely snowbound.