Shine A Light on Tibet was started in 1999 by Caroline Scattergood by raising the Tibetan flag with the then Mayor, Ulrick Gravesande, outside the Guildhall, writes Lena Davis.
On the 5th March it was raised again, just as it has been every year since.
In 2002, with the support of the Northampton Women’s Forum, Northampton Borough Council awarded a Tibetan Nun Honorary Citizenship of Northampton while she was languishing in a Tibetan prison. It was accepted by His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Representative Mrs Kelsang Takla on her behalf and one year later she was free.
During the years Caroline has also seen the flag waving proudly over Althorpe (at the invitation of Earl Spencer) and over Castle Ashby together with Lord Northampton. But it is at the Guildhall each year that Mayors and Dignitaries of all parties have shown their support of the Tibetan people who are still struggling under the dominance of China.
This year, on Monday 5th March, the snows had melted, the sun shone and Caroline Scattergood, the Mayor of Northampton Councillor Gareth Eales, the Leader of Northampton Borough Council Cllr Jonathan Nunn and the Deputy Leader Cllr Phil Larratt stood together with the Dalai Lama’s Representative Chonpel Tsering to fly the flag for this, the nineteenth year.
The Guildhall was packed with supporters, many of whom had travelled from various parts of the country to join together with Councillors, business people, friends and supporters, and many members of the original Women’s Forum. A tribute was paid to the late member Linda Brede and a very special welcome was given to Fran Wire the widow of ex-Mayor Terry Wire.
Although she wasn’t free to attend, Joanna Lumley sent a message to be read out by her chum Caroline Scattergood which contained a wonderful philosophy in these hard times “The pendulum always swings wildly at times of change and soon the world will stop being SO MAD”.