Tuesday, 17 May 2016

When Natalie came to Peterborough

Julie Howell and Natalie Bennett
Julie Howell (Peterborough Green Party) & Natalie Bennett (Green Party leader)

On Sunday, Natalie Bennett announced that she does not intend to put herself forward for re-election as leader of the Green Party.

In a very thoughtful email to party members, Natalie said:

"Please think about whether you, or someone you know, could fill one of [the leadership] roles – and if the latter, please do ask them. Sometimes the best candidates for roles are not those who leap forward, but those encouraged by others."

Elsewhere in the media, Natalie has been quoted saying how important it is for others in the party to have the opportunity to step into leadership roles.

Natalie's belief - that others should be given the opportunity to shine - is one of many reasons why I have so much respect for her. I will miss her leadership when she steps down from the role.

When Natalie came to Peterborough...

Natalie Bennett (Green Party leader) with Roger Proudfoot, Cherry Beeby & Joseph Wells of Peterborough Green Party
Natalie Bennett (Green Party leader) with Roger Proudfoot, Cherry Beeby & Joseph Wells of Peterborough Green Party

As you may be aware, there were some City Council elections in the UK on Thursday 5th May 2016. 

At very short notice, Natalie accepted Peterborough Green Party Coordinator Roger Proudfoot's invitation to visit Peterborough on polling day. 

We couldn't believe it! 

To receive a visit for the party leader on any day of the year would be wonderful. That Natalie took the time and effort to visit us on the most important day in our 2016 calendar just goes to show what an encouraging and nurturing leader she is.

Natalie Bennett and Roger Proudfoot
Green Party leader Natalie Bennett with Peterborough Green Party Coordinator Roger Proudfoot in Werrington, Peterborough on City Council election day, 2016

Myself and fellow PGP member Fiona Radic met Natalie at Peterborough station at 11am and escorted her to Werrington ward to meet other PGP candidates and members. After discussion, an interview with the Peterborough Telegraph and a photocall (during which Natalie was incredibly patient as we queued up for selfies!), we took Natalie on a walk of the ward.

Word soon got out about Natalie's visit and even Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson took the time out of his own busy day to welcome her to our city.

Stewart Jackson MP welcomed Natalie Bennett to Peterborough
Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson welcomed Natalie to Peterborough

After meeting some local residents, Natalie returned to London and I later saw her again on social media bringing more inspiration to people supporting Sian Berry's campaign to become London Mayor. 

Natalie's visit gave our spirits a real boost and she was very encouraging to me personally which means a great deal to me. It's so important for morale to be reminded that we are all essential cogs in a powerful machine. Natalie made us all feel like we really matter.

I understand why she will not stand for leader at the next election, but am pleased to hear that we will not lose her from the Green Party altogether. Leaders like Natalie are precious and rare. I hope it won't be too long before she visits us again.

Natalie Bennett describes Peterborough Green Party as a strong local party on Channel 4 News 16 May 2016 from Julie Howell on Vimeo.

From the Peterborough Telegraph:

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