Tony Benn’s legacy lives on during Levellers Day

Witney Gazette: The Levllers Day parade The Levllers Day parade

A TRADITION marched on at the weekend as Levellers Day was marked in Burford.

The parade happens every year to mark the execution of three soldiers in the town in 1649.

The men were the ringleaders of more than 300 members of the Levellers movement who were locked up in Burford Church by Oliver Cromwell’s men over their protests about dictatorship.

The ringleaders were executed in the churchyard on May 17, 1649, on Cromwell’s orders after they had branded him a dictator following the Civil War.

The parade became a tradition after Labour politician Tony Benn, who died in March, came and read at the church in 1976.

Every year since, people have come to the town to hold a debate, take part in a colourful procession through the town and listen to traditional folk music.

Saturday’s event was followed by family activities on Burford Recreation Ground.

Annie Hill, of the folk dance band Vale Islanders, said it was important to maintain traditions, adding: “It is worth remembering the liberty we have at the moment was paid for by other people. This was a long time ago – about 1650 – but it does not make it any less relevant.”

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