Town joins national climate strikes as Gosport 16-year-old gathers support for movement

In the middle, Amber Stewart (16) from Gosport.'Picture: Annabelle Dryden-Smith (200919-54)
In the middle, Amber Stewart (16) from Gosport.'Picture: Annabelle Dryden-Smith (200919-54)
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FERRY users arriving in Gosport were met with climate justice chants as a group from the town joined the nationwide protests.

Organised by 16-year-old Grace Cane, the town’s first climate strike today saw more than 50 people turn up throughout the day with placards and posters to support the movement.

Ruby Cane, 14'Picture: Annabelle Dryden-Smith (200919-59)

Ruby Cane, 14'Picture: Annabelle Dryden-Smith (200919-59)

Bay House Sixth Form student Grace said: ‘I want to have a safe future. We don’t feel we want to be here, we feel we need to be here. 

‘I would rather be at school and prepare myself for the future but I don’t know if I will have a future if I don’t do anything.’

The young activist organised the protest and encouraged local councillors and school friends to take part, with people from a wide range of ages and political persuasions turning out in support.

‘I’m really happy that people are getting involved, if no one’s going to listen then we have to do something,’ said Grace.

Sophie Hayes, 16, said: ‘We can catch up on lessons but we can’t catch up on stopping climate change.’

Janet Cane, Grace’s mum, was very proud of her daughter for taking action and organising the event after being inspired by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg’s international climate change awareness campaign. 

Janet said: ‘I’m awestruck and I’m so grateful that we have a whole generation who are politically aware, socially responsible and are prepared to make a change to the mess we’ve made.’

St Vincent College student Freddy Cairns, 18, said: ‘It’s just something that needs to be heard and the government needs to do something fast or it’ll be disastrous.’

Supporters included Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage and town councillors from various parties, including Brockhurst ward councillor Siobhan Mitchell.

She said: ‘We’re very much supporting the children, they may not be able to vote yet but they certainly have a voice in the town as far as I’m concerned.’

Cllr Mitchell was encouraging protesters to go along to the council meeting where she will be putting forward another motion for the town to declare a climate emergency, after the council’s previous refusal.