In 1975, I was intensely occupied with Veganism, the Vegan Society and community living. Some of us who belonged to the Young Vegans felt the need for a means of communication outside the Vegan Society and the then rather formal Vegan Magazine. After some thought and discussions, the first Vegan Newsletter was born in April 1975, typed, illustrated, collated and stapled at our house in North London where at the time 5 vegans lived.
Inspired by Peace News, we were inviting people to come to Newsletter production weekends and I found these enjoyable events where we met lots of new friends. Malcolm Horne was one of the people who was involved right from the start and came to every production weekend until he joined our vegan household. The Newsletter became very popular and a lot of social contacts and activities evolved from working together on its production. We started taking leaflets and food round to festivals and after Keith Bryan joined our household, we decided to open a vegan restaurant, believed to be the first ever.
By number 10 the Newsletter had reacted a point where 300 copies were produced and a number of people felt a change in name and production method was needed. Feeling comfortable and inspired by its success and fearing the newsletter would lose its informal warm and open character, I resisted and found it hard to let go of "my baby". However, number 14 emerged is a nice looking printed magazine with Malcolm, Sue and David as editors. They continued to produce a warm inspiring informal magazine and the readers did continue to contribute inspiring articles. (I loved Laura Langhorne and the cartoons).
In number 20 another big change was announced. Vegan Views moved North to Lancashire, home of Valerie and David, who give it a lot of new life until they found it had taken over their lives too much and handed over to Malcolm again, who had been guiding the magazine all along and contributed the beautiful handwritten headlines which were a real improvement. Printing the magazine allowed for more varied and better illustration work. Meanwhile Harry Mather had quietly been contributing articles all through the years right from the very first Newsletter, so no wonder Vegan Views came into his capable hands after a while, where it still is in Bournemouth.
Thinking about those early beginnings, I realise how much that initiative has meant is my life and my personal development. How inspiring it was to be involved in writing, illustrating and producing something with a group of people. How many new ideas and how much energy flowed out of meeting and working with like minded people.
- I was involved in writing for the very first time.
- I discovered I liked drawing.
- I liked working together with a group of people.
- We organised stalls and social and public events. We opened a vegan restaurant.
In 1978 I wrote in Newsletter 16 about the birth of Seonaid at home and although the café closed, we continued to organise stalls and events and also worked together with the Vegan Society on a number of occasions. Kevin and I had another son in 1981, also born in the same vegan community.
When we went to live in Ringwood to enable our children to attend the Waldorf (Steiner) School, we met Harry Matter there, whose two children also were pupils. We had also come back in touch with Vegan Views and I am delighted it is still going. I wonder how many readers I used to correspond with will read this now.
Recently our 3rd child Celine was born again at home, this time in the bath in Ringwood and we have laid her in the same cot that a Vegan Views friend, Mike Throve, made for Seonaid.
I feel very blessed and grateful for all the experiences and contacts Vegan Views has given us. I hope it will bring light to many people and I wish it a long life.
Lots of Love,
Marijke still keeps very busy but is hoping to find time to help with V.V. soon and brighten it with some drawings and calligraphy.
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