United Kingdom: I’m 73 and a grandmother. Fracking has turned me into an activist

Until last year I’d never been in a protest. Now I’m due in court for trying to stop this destructive industry ruining our landscape
Gillian Kelly protesting in Fylde.

Iam a 73-year-old grandmother. On a sunny day in the middle of July I found myself sitting in the central reservation of the A583 outside Cuadrilla’s fracking site near Blackpool, one arm locked into a steel tube within a brightly coloured wooden box and surrounded by police. I was not alone. Locked into a neighbouring box was my partner, Paul, and my granddaughter, Megan. A few feet away my son, Sebastian, was also locked on, along with two other female friends.

The next morning in the Guardian there was a large photograph of me with a caption describing me as an activist. I almost laughed out loud. I thought I must be the unlikeliest person ever to be described as an activist. Unlikely because of my age and because I am definitely not given to defiance; I do feel deeply about inhumanity, greed, the wrecking of the planet, but thus far I had confined myself to petition-signing, infrequent letter-writing and furious, but powerless, indignation in the company of like-minded friends.

On Monday, I’ll be in court, charged with obstructing the highway. What changed?

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