Thoughts on the event 25
Bringing Back Memories
Collective and other Pagan groups had held
festivals in Leicester in 1986 and 1987. The first National Pagan Link
Conference was held at Leicester University in 1988. The University had
welcomed us and asked us to return as it was a “much nicer event then
the usual student Saturday night”.
Unfortunately different organisers of the 1989 Link Up festival decided
to change venue to De Montfort University. Instead of taking out a paid
advertisement, they went directly to the editor (an Evangelical
Christian) of the Leicester Mercury with the story. The effect of the
headline “3000 Witches coming to Leicester” (presumably to eat your
babies) was disastrous for the Pagan community in Leicester.
Twenty-seven Christian churches picketed the venue aggressively. Green
Majick Collective lost 230 members overnight as people realised they
could lose their homes, jobs, friends, and even children, when their
religion was made public.
There was a public apology and retraction from the Mercury two days
later, achieved thanks to the Pagan Anti-Defamation League, with a
three page spread giving the Pagan perspective. It included national
and local Pagan interviews, with follow on TV and radio coverage.
Despite this, attitudes in churches and in Leicester did not easily
Pagans took a long time to re-emerge, some becoming solitary
practitioners, and many families choosing not to observe their faith in
public. It is a religion of diversity, tolerance and individual
empowerment, venerating nature and respecting all religious beliefs
that honour life.
resumed in 2005
and 2006 in Castle Park, with another in
2007 at Moat Community College. This was due to the Beltane Spring
Fayre Group and a new generation seeking a nature based spiritual
pathway. Young Pagans had not experienced the prejudices of the
previous generation. They expected equal consideration in religious
matters thanks in part to the changing laws. Taking advantage of these
laws, we have reported our first faith hate crime this year. It was
dealt with very sensitively and satisfactorily by Leicestershire
According to the
there are now 1400 Pagans in Leicester
and Leicestershire. Pagans are included and accepted as part of the
Interfaith community. Paganism is the seventh largest religion in the
UK. The Leicester Mercury has since proven more sympathetic to minorities, including Pagans, in their coverage of events.