Today is 21 years since my vegan friend Jill Phipps died whilst protesting against the export of live calves from Bagington Airport, Coventry. At that time I had moved away from Coventry to Leicester to go to university; I heard the news on the radio that evening. At that point they didn’t name her, and I guessed it had to be one of my friends, I just wondered who. It was some hours later that she was named.
Jill was a fabulous woman, full of life, full of joyous energy, determination, and love. When I see her in my head it’s always with her big smile.
We first met when I joined the local AR group, Coventry Animal Alliance. We went to the same demos and gigs, sabbing, and would sometimes eat together as we only lived a few minutes apart.
Jill and her family were a great inspiration to me. The first time I ever got arrested for AR stuff was with her mother, Nancy, at a protest against Hudson Bay House (the fur auction room) in London. Nancy was everyone’s mum, or nan.
I spent several hours in a police cell (seeing how being confined against ones will, being held in a ‘cage’, it made me more determined to fight for animal and human liberation). Meanwhile, Nancy wasn’t in a cell, and was being treated to cups of tea by the police. She was that nice. And Jill was just like that too. Full of love and anger. Love for the humans and animals of the world, and the Earth herself. Anger at the injustices and suffering of all of those.
If Jill was alive now she’d see a world in which being vegan isn’t an oddity, that we are now EVERYWHERE.
Remember those who helped bring this about. Those who went before us. Those who lit up our lives, and lived to change the world for the better.
Fly on free Jill.