By Anita Graafland

“I joined Cornwall for Europe to offer my media experience in the campaigning. Cutting through to ordinary folks with our message is vital. Just talking to ourselves will not advance the cause but every conversation we all have and all press coverage we get makes people think and gives hope for change.”

Charles is perhaps the hardest person for me to write about. Don’t forget, I joined the CfE Executive Team well after all was lost and the final London March was over. Charles is perhaps one of the most focused members on the team – he’s not there to socialise, he’s there to find a purpose for our energies, a focus on where we go from here, on deciding what to campaign on now so as to keep our brand alive, and on picking the right moment to start to campaign for rejoin.

And so, I haven’t really got to know Charles all that well. He shows up for our meetings if there’s something pertinent on the agenda and will pull out all the stops when something needs to be done where his tremendous skills are useful. Our vigil for Ukraine was a case in point: Tom may have come up with the idea, the rest of the team may have quickly agreed and discussed date, time and location, but it took one call to Charles to get the publicity ball rolling. In under an hour everything was in place and an unexpectedly successful event was born.

Charles is also very good at providing feedback on what went well, praising Tom and Bev for their hard work, and reminding us how good we are when we have a focus. I watched it all unfold from Amsterdam, and I was truly in awe. For various reasons, none of our main officers were available that weekend, but it didn’t matter: it took only four of our team to stage one of the most successful events in a while. And I was no longer a little afraid of Charles. In fact, I even dared to interrupt him at our last executive meeting. Progress!