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Tuesday 5 October 1999

Oxford Clean Slate Week

At a Town Hall reception this evening, the Lord Mayor of Oxford, Cllr Val Smith, launched an Oxford 'Clean Slate Week', to be held from November 29 to December 5. This special week is part of the national Clean Slate Campaign which is inviting everyone to take at least one practical step towards wiping their slate clean before the new millennium.

The Lord Mayor was speaking at a reception attended by Oxford personalities, including the Chairman of the County Council, Harry Wyatt, the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Richard Harries, Dr Evan Harris MP, Peter Schippl, Managing Director of Rover Group, and representatives from churches, the Police, the University, voluntary organisations, businesses and the ethnic minorities.

Describing the Clean Slate Campaign as 'an imaginative millennium idea', the Lord Mayor welcomed this 'chance to reflect and think where we, the community and the world are going. Clean Slate gives us a chance to do this. It is a simple idea, which won't cost money, and something we can all do.'

She went on to spell out the kind of action that might be envisaged. 'We can all choose what we do - we can patch up a row with a neighbour or a friend, or accept an olive branch offered by someone else - or return that book you have had for five years…. Alternatively we could do something we have always meant to do - start taking our bottles to the bottle bank, take public transport to work, or visit a neighbour or relative we have been too busy to do for too long.'

County Council Chairman Harry Wyatt and West Oxford MP Evan Harris also spoke, welcoming the idea and pledging their support.

The Clean Slate Campaign was the idea of Oxford resident, Edward Peters. Among its 80 national patrons are sporting celebrities such as Sir Bobby Charlton, Gary Lineker and Gavin Hastings, and religious leaders such as the Bishop of London, the late Cardinal Hume, the Chief Rabbi and Dr Zaki Badawi. Timothy Garton Ash of St Anthony's College, and Charles Clayton, Executive Director of World Vision, are among its Oxford patrons.

The campaign is gathering momentum around Britain. There has been particular interest from schools, hundreds of which have received a copy of a special Programme of Study for Key Stages 1 & 2 written by staff at Edward Feild Primary School in Kidlington.

During the Clean Slate Week there will be a number of local events, including a public meeting on Friday 3 December at which school children will perform. It is hoped that many Oxford citizens will have their own ideas of what to do to mark this special week.