Imber Peace Vigil Saturday 31 December

RuthUnderwood news at
Wed Dec 21 17:51:17 GMT 2005

                                                     Imber Peace Vigil 
Saturday 31 December 2005 at midday

"Christians, go and find friends who are Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, 
Sikhs, agnostics, atheists - not for the purpose of converting them to your 
beliefs, but for friendship, understanding, listening, hearing..."
Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, Inauguration sermon, 30 November 2005

"Demonstrate openness...Increase understanding and our ability to work 
together...Be better able to understand each other...
Develop strong relationships...Improve friendly relations...Build trust 
through contact at all levels"
Defence Diplomacy (Ministry of Defence, 1999) and What Do You Know about 
Defence Diplomacy? (MoD, 2001)

"War is a catastrophic event and there are no more ardent peacemakers than 
those of us who have experienced it."
Ian Townsend, Secretary General of the Royal British Legion, in a letter to 
Christine Titmus of the Movement for the Abolition of War, April 2004

The fourth consecutive New Year s Eve Peace Vigil will be held by the 
roadside in Imber village at midday on Saturday 31 December. Last year 30 
representatives attended from Wiltshire s faith communities including local 
Quakers, Devizes Peace Group and Swindon Interfaith with members of 
Anglican Pacifist Fellowship and Movement for the Abolition of War. We 
began by remembering the Dutch soldiers, soon to serve in Iraq, who had 
been training at Imber on the occasion of the annual St Giles Church 
services in September.

The Peace Vigil is not a political rally or a platform for anti-military 
activity. It is an opportunity to focus on our common humanity in the 
search for sustainable, nonviolent solutions to conflict which avoid the 
tragedies of warfare.

We look forward to the day when restoration of St Giles Church is complete 
and its potential can be realised as a place of spiritual retreat, 
historical and environmental awareness, community development and 
creativity - a training ground for peace education and reconciliation.

"...we continue to fill the holes in our hearts with new connections, new 
love, and new possibilities."
David Potorti, Introduction to September 11th Families for Peaceful 
Tomorrows - Turning Our Grief into Action for Peace, July 2003

                                                    The roads from Gore 
Cross to Warminster and from Bratton to Heytesbury are open
                                                      from 6.00pm on Friday 
16 December 2005 to 6.00pm on Monday 2 January 2006.

Ruth Underwood Forever Imber 2 St John s Grove London N19 5RW  020 7272 
8500 ruthunderwood at 

Forever Imber by Ruth Underwood
This book grew out of a leaflet written in September 2001. Over 400 pages 
and 300 archive and contemporary photographs from many sources, including 
Austin Underwood s pictures of the 1960s and Richard Hayward s modern day 
photos, reproduced by Peter Daniels. Spiral bound A4, printed on recycled 
paper by Speedyprint, Salisbury. Colour front and back covers. Seven sections:

I. Wiltshire born and bred although I ve been around the world a little II. 
The village lies in a deep fold of the Plain III. The Wiltshire County 
Council have betrayed the rights of way IV. The ultimate hidden persuader 
V. We really are a global village VI. I am tired and sick of war. Its glory 
is all moonshine. War is hell. VII. It was broken promises.

It pays tribute to my father Austin Underwood who started the campaign for 
Imber s restoration in 1961.

It marks a reappraisal of the evacuation of Imber village on Salisbury 
Plain in 1943 and of the Public Inquiry into the permanent closure of its 
roads in 1961, concluding that both represent unresolved miscarriages of 

St Giles Church, a Grade 1 listed, 13th century building, came under the 
care of the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) in September 2005. The MoD 
have committed £60,000 towards the £200,000 restoration costs and have 
promised continuing public access during holiday periods.

Forever Imber proposes that St Giles Church become a centre for community 
education, creative arts, healing, environmental and historical awareness, 
interfaith, peace and reconciliation under the juristiction of the CCT.

Quotes from many people with Imber connections. Texts from local history, 
world religions, peace movement. Poetry from different ages and cultures. 
Comments on contemporary world politics since September 11. Argues for a 
re-evaluation of power relations, emphasising the importance of education 
and personal responsibility.

Argues for disarmament, the promotion of non-violent forms of conflict 
resolution and the abolition of war. It reflects on the massive anti-war 
movement against the War in Iraq.

Documents the community gatherings, church services and peace vigils held 
at Imber between 2002 and 2004. Community gatherings have focused on music, 
art, drama, peace education and conflict resolution.

Tells the story of the Peace Tree, created at Imber on 30 August 2003.

On New Year s Eve 2002 a small number of people gathered at Imber in a 
Vigil for World Peace. It led to the New Year s front cover headline in The 
Warminster Journal: Pacifists Gather at Imber - a great message to go out 
to a military town in an area which houses the Head Quarters of the British 
Land Forces.

Easter Sunday 11 April 2004 marked 11 years since Austin Underwood died on 
Easter Sunday 11 April 1993.

The 2004 New Year s Eve Peace Vigil was attended by representatives from 
the Quakers, the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship and the Movement for the 
Abolition of War.

If you are interested in Imber s story, its future and the development of a 
culture of peace, and would like to reserve a copy of Forever Imber when 
published New Year 2006, please send £20 to the address below.

The book will include a CD of my Song of the Open Downs (2001) with its own 
accompanying booklet.

Your support is much appreciated - advance payment enables printing costs 
to be covered - thank you.

Many thanks to those people who are waiting patiently for this book and who 
have given invaluable moral and financial support towards the process of 
bringing Forever Imber into being.

Forever Imber has been generously sponsored by Peter Daniels of Active UK 
(Visual Communications) Limited, Salisbury, without whom this project would 
not have been possible.

I would like to support the production of the book Forever Imber and 
receive a copy in New Year 2006[ ]

I enclose a cheque for £20, payable to Ruth Underwood [ ]


Either: I live in London or Wiltshire and my copy could be collected or 
delivered to save costs [ ]

Or: Please post my copy to the above address. (Postage and packing is 
included in the £20) [ ]

"Dear Ruth, Your essay about Imber is deeply moving and I hope it is widely 
read and studied. It reminds us that war and preparations for war can 
destroy humanity in victor nations as well as in those which are 
vanquished. In love and peace, Tony" Tony Benn, former Labour MP and 
veteran peace activist

"Ruth Underwood s history of Imber is a wonderful labour of love. It is 
rich in the stories of those who cared for Imber s history and humanity of 
whom her father Austin was one of the greatest. But it is also a labour of 
hope for a different future in which Imber, a victim of war, might become a 
centre for peace. "Oh it s totally unrealistic" said one Member of 
Parliament about these peaceful plans. I love people who say so confidently 
that projects are unrealistic. Those with imagination and vision so often 
prove them wrong. I suspect that Ruth will, with her fellow Imber 
campaigners do just that."
Bruce Kent, founder of the Movement for the Abolition of War, former Chair 
of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

"In 1940 my mother, brother and I went to live in Imber, after our home in 
Plymouth was destroyed by German bombs. Imber was my father s childhood 
home and while my grandparents still lived in their cottage in the village, 
father was away fighting Germans. The village was an idyllic place for a 
small boy to grow up in and I have very clear, strong memories of my time 
there. Thanks very much Ruth, for writing Forever Imber which, among other 
things, highlights the injustice suffered by the villagers and makes the 
case for restoring Saint Giles Church, outside of which my father s ashes 
were scattered. Thanks also for following in your father s footsteps and 
campaigning not just for Imber justice, but also for World Peace."
The late Bill Meaden, former President of the National Association of 
Retired Firefighters and Trustee for Age Concern England

"This body they may kill

But truth abideth still."

Bach Chorale

Ruth Underwood Forever Imber 2 St John s Grove London N19 5RW Tel: 020 7272 

ruthunderwood at and 

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