THIS is a copy of a letter sent to Craven District Council in response to an invitation to attend the Freedom Parade in Skipton on March 2.

Thank you for inviting us to the celebrations of the granting of Freedom of Craven to the 5th Regiment Royal Artillery. We appreciate that this was a general invitation rather than a specific one, but in choosing not to take up your invitation, we wanted to outline our reasons.

Quakers have long been concerned with the devastating cost of war, both to the people on all sides of any conflict, and, as has become clear more recently, to the earth itself.

The arms industry and the military are major contributors to the carbon footprint of the UK and many other nations. Whilst in no way underestimating the acts of courage and sacrifice displayed by members of our armed forces when on the battlefield, we believe that greater investment in removing the causes of war, and working to create and restore lasting peace would minimise and hopefully one day eradicate the need for such sacrifice.

In particular we are concerned that the sort of parade planned for March 2 seems to be glorifying the military and encouraging militaristic attitudes.

In encouraging schools to release children to attend these celebrations, you are normalising for them these attitudes. We would ask you to also consider encouraging schools to consider all approaches to conflict resolution in their curricula.

As our climate changes, we anticipate that more people will be displaced and scarcity of precious resources will lead to more potential conflict. Sadly this is the legacy we are passing on to our next generations and we hope that they can be given the tools and resources to devise better and more effective ways of addressing conflict. We can supply free educational resources to support this at


Jo Valentine and Lois Lodge Clerks,

Skipton Quaker Meeting