Valentines Day Ceremony: 13 local residents whose homes threatened by 3rd runway will each ‘adopt’ one of the Heathrow13 activists facing jail

A fun event with a serious purpose

To celebrate Valentines Day, 13 residents whose homes are threatened by a third runway will each ‘adopt’ one of the Heathrow 13 Plane Stupid activists who are facing jail following their occupation of one of the Heathrow runways last year.

The ‘Adopt an Activist’ ceremony will take place upstairs in the ancient Five Bells pub in the 11th century Harmondsworth village, a lot of which faces demolition if a new runway is given the go-ahead. The ceremony will start at midday with the cutting by two of the Heathrow 13 of a large Valentines Cake, specially baked for the occasion. Then, as cake and wine is served, names will be drawn out of hats to match the residents with the activists. The residents will write to the activists in jail. In turn, the activists have pledged to back the residents’ fight to stay in their homes.

The ceremony will be over by 1pm after there will be a chance to talk with the residents and activists (a number of the 13 will be there in person) in the pub downstairs. The residents include people who have lived in their homes for over half-a-century.

The heart-shaped cake, covered in a runway, has been deliberately knocked about so it symbolizes ‘a damaged community’. It contains the words ‘Heathrow. You’re breaking our hearts.'

John Stewart, chair of the HACAN, the campaign group which opposes a new runway, said, 'This event should be enormous fun. But it has a really serious purpose. It shows the bond of unity there is between the people who put their bodies on the line at Heathrow and the residents who face losing their homes.'

Nearly 800 homes will need to be demolished for a new runway. But Heathrow has admitted that it might need to buy up a total of almost 4,000 homes as the noise of planes landing and taking off in the nearby communities of Sipson and Harlington might be unbearable.

A Government decision on whether to give the green light to a third runway at Heathrow or a second runway at Gatwick is expected in the second half of this year.
Great Valentines Day event today. Thanks to all who made it possible. Meridian and ITV London were there plus a lot of press photographers including one from the Press Association. I understand the Indy is interested in having a photo.

Attached are some pictures, which I've also tweeted and put on the HACAN Facebook page and group. Thanks to Hilton for the outdoors picture.

I rushed out the HACAN press release below should any media want a story and comment for tomorrow morning. But feel free to do additional press releases.
Press Release 14/2/16:-

Great atmosphere as residents 'adopt' the 13 Plane Stupid activists facing jail over runway occupation.

There was a great atmosphere on Valentines Day in the Five Bells in Harmondsworth, the 11th century pub under threat of demolition if a third runway goes ahead, as 13 residents each 'adopted' one of the 13 Plane Stupid activists who face jail after occupying a runway at Heathrow. Most of the residents face losing their home if a new runway is built.

A specially-made Valentines Day cake was cut by Sam, one of the activists, and Sheila Taylor who has lived in the area all her life. It marked the end of a ceremony where each resident drew out of a hat the name of an activist who they adopted. They promised to write to them if they go to jail. Afterwards the packed pub went outside for a celebration on Harmondsworth Green.

John Stewart, chair of HACAN, the residents' group which opposes a new runway, said, 'There was a warm mood of mutual support in the room. It was made 100% clear that the activists won't be alone when they are sentenced in 10 days time. Residents and direct action protesters are united as one in their determination to stop a third runway.'

The sentencing of the 13 activists will take place at Willesden Magistrates Court on the morning of 24th February.

The Government is expected to make a decision about a new runway in London and the South East later this year.

For more information:
John Stewart 0207 737 6641; 07957385650