Mavis and I arrived in the beautiful city of Plymouth the night before the Olympic torch was due to arrive in the city on Saturday 19th May. We walked up to “The Hoe” where hectic preparations were being made to host a spectacular evening celebration to welcome the Olympic Torch into the city.
We met the next day with Christine Hudson, the chairman of the Plymouth SPUC branch, who had mustered an Olympic Pro-Life team of sixteen people of various ages, for the Torch Relay Campaign.
After a team talk, distribution of leaflets and placards, and a prayer we made our way towards the Hoe and split off into smaller teams in an attempt to cover as many entrances to the Hoe as we could. This way we were able to hand out the leaflets to as many people as possible.
About an hour before the torch relay was due to arrive on the Hoe we gradually began to move onto the Hoe ourselves mingling with the growing crowd, handing out leaflets and continuing to chat to any who showed interest in what we were doing.
The ones who seemed to be most curious were teenagers, particularly girls. We had some great conversations and I am sure that many of these young people were positively impacted by the information we gave them. Some even wanted to have their photographs taken holding the placards.
We did come across a few people who didn’t like what we were doing, but the vast majority who spoke to us were supportive, some even thanking us for standing up for unborn children. The police watched what we were doing, but were very friendly towards us.
About 20 minutes before the torch was due to arrive, we joined together carrying the placards and holding them arm high behind the crowds that were lining the final route of the torch onto the Hoe. By this time the crowd lining the route must have been thirty deep, so no-one got to see much of the torch.The torch was running late, which was great for us because many people in the crowd were looking up at the placards which read, “Every life more precious than gold. Be a torchbearer for the unborn.”
The torch finally arrived as the crowd roared its approval.The torch was then taken to a prepared platform upon which was an Olympic Cauldron which was then lit by the torch. A huge cheer went through the crowd before they began to disperse.
I haven’t been in a crowd as big as that ever. The Hoe was packed with an estimated 40,000 people (picture of part of crowd attached), which meant that in less than 3 hours we were able to distribute well over 4,000 leaflets. Some people didn’t want to take one, but many came up to us and asked for them.
Just imagine being able to get the pro-life message out to so many people in such a short time.
What amazed me was that no other organisation was holding placards at any time. Also, although various leaflets were being handed out by other organisations, I believe that the leaflet that arrived into the hands of most people in that crowd that night was the SPUC leaflet.
We met together after the event for a positive debrief. Everyone who took part agreed that they were glad they had been a part of it and even enjoyed it. It was a buzz, a day which I believe none of us will ever forget.
We thanked God for His presence with us and the fruit that we believe He will produce through this one act of witness for unborn children.
Two final comments...
I don’t believe it was any coincidence that the number of the crowd, 40,000, is the same as the number of babies, 40,000, which will be aborted in the UK over the 70 day journey of the Olympic Torch. Seeing that huge heaving crowd of 40,000 people gave me a deeper understanding of the vast scale of the numbers of our next generation that are being destroyed by abortion in our land. God forgive us!
In the grounds of the Hoe, Christine pointed out to me a huge flower bed that had been planted in such a way that it spelt out the words, “LOVE LIFE”. That’s a message that we need to get out to our nation!
Other towns on the Olympic torch itinerary can be added if you are willing to help Arthur to organise an event in a town local to you. Anyone wanting to support the events listed in the linked-to blog post, or organise a new one, should contact Arthur. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will put you in touch.
You can also support Arthur Wood's initiative by simply ordering the flyer pictured above and delivering it door-to-door. Again, contact us at the above email address, or call the SPUC office on 020 7091 7091 if you would like to order flyers.