Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Well done that man!

Why let a little thing like death get in the way of a good protest?

Readers may rememember Tony Fuller, a retired aircraft fitter, who led an anti-HGV protest in Chideock, Dorset after residents' complaints against traffic levels went unanswered by the authorities.

Led by Mr Fuller, the villagers carried out the protest two days a week for an hour at a time, repeatedly pushing the button on a pelican crossing to halt the stream of lorries passing through.

Sadly, Mr Fuller is not a well man, but he's determined to have his say after he's gone. He has added a codicil to his will requiring the funeral cortege, led by a horse-drawn cart, to crawl back and forth through his home village once for every year of his life.

"I am hoping it will take a very long time and that it will hold up the traffic up. If that happens I hope people will take along their banners to my funeral."

Some years ago, I sat in a traffic jam of epic proportions on a busy ring road. The traffic crawled round to the final roundabout, where I was at last able to see the cause of the hold-up.

At the head of a procession, which must by now have been several miles long, was a hearse. In front of it, in full mourning rig, walked an undertaker's mute at a dignified slow-march, presumably enacting the last wishes of a resident who had suffered years of heavy traffic.

I may have been inconvenienced by the delay, but I couldn't help admiring the kind of spirit that keeps fighting in the face of the great leveller.

So good luck to Tony Fuller and his final protest, and may it take place a very long time hence!

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