|This article appeared in the New Worker, 1 October 2011
The Clarion Cyclists rode into Cardiff on their epic 645-mile journey through Britain to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the International Brigades. They had a tremendous reception from Côr Cochion (Cardiff Reds Choir) and Welsh members of the International Brigade Memorial Trust, gathering at the monument to the Spanish Civil War volunteers in Cathays Park.
Welsh Brigaders Jim Brewer, Alun Menai, Edwin Greening, Lance Rogers and Morien Morgan were amongst those who had worked hard after their return from Spain, to make a reality a promise to honour their comrades who had fallen on the battlefields. The Tories who were in charge of City Hall at the time refused point blank to put up a monument to Communists and troublemakers; but the dream was finally achieved in 1992, when after several years of fundraising and lobbying, Ray Davies and Wendy Lewis (whose uncles both died fighting in the International Brigades) erected the two bronze plaques set into blue pennant stone. It has weathered a determined arson attack by fascists, and still stands proudly reminding visitors of the ideals held by those who left these shores to defend democracy in Spain.
Leanne Woods from the Welsh Assembly Government sent greetings of solidarity to the meeting. Charles Jepson, leading the Clarion Cyclists, thanked comrades from Wales for their welcome. He spoke of the Cyclists' commitment to antifascism; three of the original Clarion Cyclists were killed in the Spanish Civil War in 1937, and he was proud to take part in the cycle ride to honour their memories on the 75th anniversary of the Spanish Civil war.
Ray Davies and Wendy Lewis presented a cheque for £100 towards the Arcola Theatre's celebration of the International Brigades, "Goodbye Barcelona".
The cyclists continued the journey they began in Edinburgh, through Ireland and Wales, on to Bristol and London at the annual gathering of the International Brigades Memorial Trust.