Pro-European campaigners hold Brexit Day ceremony in Bideford
- Credit: Devon for Europe
Pro-European campaigners marked the UK’s exit from the European Union on Friday, January 31 with a ceremony on Bideford Quay.
Supporters of the campaigning group Devon for Europe gathered to 'restate their pride in their European identity' as well as to 'deplore the loss of their rights as European citizens'.
John Patrinos, who coordinates the North Devon branch, said: "For nearly four years now, those arguing for Brexit told us 'we are not leaving Europe, we are just leaving the EU'. They were right. We are still European, and we are proud of it."
Keith Denby, from Parracombe, read out a statement put together by volunteers in North Devon which will feed into the next phase of Devon for Europe's strategy post-Brexit ('the Bideford Declaration), as follows: 'During the long campaign for a second referendum on the UK leaving the European Union it became clear from interactions with people on the streets of Devon that there is a strong bond with Europe, its people and ideals.
'Today, the UK leaves the European Union to the dismay of many of its inhabitants. The UK government will declare Brexit to be a success no matter what actually happens.
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'In the coming years we will hold the UK government to account for Brexit and will bring to public notice honest information about the effect of Brexit on our economy, security, environment and culture.
'We will continue to work for cultural, ethical and environmental cooperation with our European friends. We will seek to establish direct contact with communities that share our values and experiences and with them celebrate our common European culture and heritage'.
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Teresa Tinsley, from Bideford said: "This is no longer about stopping Brexit. We all accept that the result of the General Election empowers the Prime Minister to take us out of the European Union.
"That does not mean we think it is right for our country or that we don't feel affronted at the loss of our rights. We deeply regret that, from now on, we will no longer have the same rights as European citizens."
Alex Pilkington, chairman of Devon for Europe, said: "This is a sad day for those of us that hold the best interests of our country dear and for those who feel British and European.
"It marks a very low point in our history, a day in which we have had rights and freedoms taken away from us.
"Despite the spin, Brexit is not done. Our future relationship with the EU must still be negotiated and this is likely to take years. Devon for Europe will continue to be a voice for those who want the best for Britain and for the ever-increasing numbers of people who are affected by the damage Brexit is causing."