July 21st, 2020.

When the annual Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival was cancelled this year members of the Seaford, Newhaven, Alfriston and Polegate branch of the Labour Party decided to give their new banner an airing anyway.

A small group met near the Martello Tower to celebrate the festival and display the splendid handmade banner.

Many members would have travelled for the weekend event in Dorset and paraded with fellow Tolpuddle supporters from around the UK.

Along with hundreds of other banners the ‘SNAP’ banner was posted on the online live festival page on Sunday.

The annual festival remembers the lives of the Tolpuddle men prosecuted and sentenced to transportation.

*In 1834, farm workers in west Dorset formed a trade union. Unions were lawful and growing fast but six leaders of the union were arrested and sentenced to seven years’ transportation for taking an oath of secrecy. A massive protest swept across the country. Thousands of people marched through London and many more organised petitions and protest meetings to demand their freedom. They were pardoned and returned to Dorset 3 years later. Their actions and the case saw the rise and success of the Trade Union movement and promotion of workers’ rights.
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