Sunday morning saw us rallying in Sandbach market square near its two ancient crosses, with Angi setting us off in fine style with a rendition of Part Of The Union - sounding better together from the stage and sound system that had been set up for the Sandbach Transport Festival later that day - which was a suitable introduction to Kerie Anne from UNISON who joined us for the day and brought us UNISON’s support. 7-day walker, Donna Peach, spoke in her role as an Ambassador for Voicing CSA, making connections with this role and the aims of the walk. Poems and more songs saw us then leave the stage and march up the bunting-hung Sandbach High Street, en route to Northwich.
There was another good crowd, and the always welcome new #BootOutAusterity faces with Peter having come up from Somerset to join us, and social work students, Mollie from Lancaster University, and Georgie, Amber and Michelle from Liverpool Hope University (a special mention to that course with the support received too from Michael Lavalette, Rich Moth and Steve Lucas). It was good to have Helen Franklin with us too, who had joined us for the Saturday evening meeting.
Having walked through Sandbach and Elsworth, we soon rejoined the Trent & Mersey Canal, and had a pleasant Sunday morning amble into Middlewich, where we lunched at the welcoming Kinderton Arms. Our second march under bunting took us up Wheelock Street, and then out of town and back onto the canal, for a wonderful sunny stretch up to the Old Broken Cross in Rudheath. On a personal note, it was lovely to be met there by my brother, sister-in-law and sister, who walked with us into Northwich.
Our Sunday evening meal and meeting was hosted by the veteran social activist and retired Methodist minister, Pat Billsborrow and Churches Together in Northwich, who advised us to be cautious in observing the pleasant Cheshire surroundings and assuming there are minimal social problems here. The huge increase in food bank use alone tells a different story.
We will continue through Cheshire tomorrow, and into Halton Borough. Two days to go, and the Boot Out Austerity walkers are in great spirits!
Guy Shennan, BASW Chair