I’m gonna be (500 towns)

Various family priorities have kept me away from blogging for a time, but I felt I had to note the passing of the Fairtrade 500 Miles for 500 Towns Bike Ride through Kendal. The three hardy souls who arrived at Janet’s house on Tuesday looked remarkably unscathed despite some truly appalling weather as they came over the fells. Fortunately the weather brightened considerably for the next stage of the relay, with a send off by the Mayor from Kendal Town Hall (caught on camera by Mel). The event was also filmed by a crew for Songs of Praise, for broadcast early next year – watch this space.

As the cyclists started the climb out of Kendal, heading south to Garstang, I hope they stopped to admire the brand new addition to the town’s signage – a plaque celebrating Kendal’s status as Cumbria’s First Fairtrade Town, and also now a Transition Town. The Town Council had been a bit worried that the addition might make the signs look a bit cluttered, but agreed to try one sign in time for the cycle ride. I’ll attempt to persuade them on Monday that the trial sign is a success, and the other signs should have the plaque too.

Why the change? I argued in Council in September that the Fairtrade and Transition initiatives had already been supported by the Council. The standards are internationally recognised, and are independently audited and are not easy to achieve. The signs celebrate the achievement of local groups in meeting these standards; they encourage Kendalians to find out more and support the groups; and also promote Kendal’s ‘brand’ to visitors – they show Kendalians are active in key issues like climate change and trade justice.

Good value for a small expenditure on signwriting ;-)

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