Anne, who has been a familiar face to the Green Party in the North West since joining over 40 years ago, was greeted last weekend by over 50 friends from her years as a notable environmental activist, Green Party member, passionate anti-fracking campaigner, teacher and counsellor, and local choir member.
She was welcomed to the venue with a special surprise performance from the Manchester Gay and Lesbian Chorus, of which she is a member, plus speeches and heartfelt video messages from The Green Party’s Co-Leader Adrian Ramsay, and Caroline Lucas MP.
In her support for the campaign against fracking, Anne was infamously arrested and surrounded by 12 police officers at an anti-fracking demo. Spending weeks in protest camps, Anne has been known to lead protest marches, and was part of a Channel 5 film about fracking, and is a well-respected member of the environmentalist community, and in her own words receives around “800 emails and messages every day from well-wishers.”
Anne continues her work as an environmental activist to this day.
Named the Green Party’s “Green Hero” in 2014, Anne also received a Local Hero Award at The Observer’s Ethical Awards.
She has stood as a Green Party candidate in local and parliamentary elections, both in Manchester and Preston, most recently in the Charlestown ward of Manchester in the 2021 Local Elections.
Brian Candeland, Anne’s campaign manager at Manchester Green Party said:
“Anne has been a very generous member of the Green Party – in particular selling her house in Trafford and subsequently giving use of part of her new house as office space for Manchester Green Party.
“At Preston New Road fracking site we all saw time and again how the Police struggled to decide how to deal with this frail-looking yet intensely formidable old lady, often wielding at least one placard or a stick. The time she was dragged by police across the road caused an outrage, and it was around the same time that she made it onto the lid of a Lush Charity Pot!”
Anne was born in Liverpool in 1931, gained a Diploma in Art at Liverpool College of Art in 1953, before completing her postgraduate of Theology in 1977 from the University of Keele, and built a career as a counsellor and teacher for nearly 40 years.
Green Deputy Leader, Amelia Womack who has become a close friend to Anne said at the event: “Anne is one of the most inspirational people I know and it’s such a privilege to have her in my life and in the Green Party.”
Green Peer Natalie Bennett added: “Politics is something that should not be done to you, but something you do, and Anne is the embodiment of that spirit which we need in these difficult times….”
The secret event was organised by friends and Green members Astrid Johnson in Manchester and Gina Dowding in Lancaster.
Anne had regularly looked after Gina’s son Louis, now 27, when he was a baby and a toddler. Anne was already over 60 at the time. Louis rounded up the speeches by talking about his memories of that time and how he has enjoyed showing off Anne’s campaigning tactics to his friends: “We are all proud of such a tenacious and remarkable woman!”
Despite the surprise Anne was not lost for words by the end of the party and made sure that she spoke to old and new friends from across Greater Manchester and the North West, saying: “We all need to stick together as Greens.
“I’m still reeling from the surprise party, I thought we were going for a quiet lunch so when we arrived at the Friend’s Meeting House and seeing it full of people was wonderful. It was lovely to receive messages from respected Green’s like Caroline Lucas, Natalie Bennett and Amelia Womack, and to hear so many people make speeches. It was a day to remember sharing memories with friends."