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Tony Benn guest of honour at early socialism celebration

Veteran socialist Tony Benn will be guest of honour at the third annual Diggers’ Festival in Wigan today.

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Veteran socialist Tony Benn will be guest of honour at the third annual Diggers’ Festival in Wigan today.

The Lancashire town was the home of Gerrard Winstanley, leader of the radical mid-17th century Diggers who established an early socialist community in which land and property were held in common.

They cultivated common land to grow food and lived communally.

They famously declared “the Earth was made a common treasury for all,” a phrase celebrated in song even today.

Mr Benn, 88, will be awarded a brass spade to salute his “outstanding contribution to Winstanley’s and the Diggers’ historic cause.”

The ceremony will take place in The Wiend in Wigan at noon following a digging re-enactment. John Graham Davies will play Mr Winstanley.

An afternoon of music and entertainment will follow. Entertainers include actor Maxine Peake.

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