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Big Red Picnic fundraiser for Morning Star returns after three-year Covid gap

THE Big Red Picnic Morning Star fundraiser was held at historic Clarion House, Pendle, on Saturday after a three-year gap due to lockdown.

Supporters from across the north gathered at the last surviving clubhouse of the Clarion socialist movement, which thrived in the early to mid-1900s with a Clarion newspaper, choirs, cycling clubs, walking groups and more.

The event featured the annual “rantomime” by the Red Shed Players from Wakefield Labour Club in West Yorkshire, pointing political fun and derision this year at “King” Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and others.

Lead organiser of the team behind the picnic, Bob Sproule from Bradford Morning Star Readers and Supporters Group, said: “It was a fabulous day. The best yet.

“People came from far and wide. A lot were making their first visit to the clubhouse and said they would come again.

“We raised £360 and it’s been sent off to the Fighting Fund.”

Mr Sproule is looking for younger activists to be involved in organising the Big Red Picnic.

Clarion House was one of the dozens of clubhouses built across Britain, often with trade union support, as resting, gathering and meeting places for workers getting away from the grime and toil of industrial towns and cities at weekends and during holidays.

The Pendle clubhouse was built in 1912 and is owned, along with its large wildflower meadow, by Nelson Independent Labour Party.

Mr Sproule is also involved in the Friends of Clarion House support group which maintains the clubhouse.

The group can be contacted at [email protected].

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