Carrie Harper, a Plaid Cymru councillor in Wrecsam, was a speaker at last weekend's All Under One Banner march for independence. She reflects on the event here.

It started, as many things do in Wrecsam, with a fight involving the local council - leaders initially refused to permit the march, then performed a last-minute u-turn - and it ended with an electric atmosphere, thousands assembling to fly the flag for Wales at an event widely praised for both its turnout and professionalism.

The significance of having such a successful independence event in an area just a few miles from the border can't be underestimated.

There was a strong Wrecsam contingent on the march itself, but many more spilled out of pubs and shops to watch the parade go by.

Hotels were sold out, and Yes Cymru t-shirts were spotted well into the early hours in pubs and clubs.  A brief glance at social media also demonstrated that local businesses had a very good day indeed.

The Saith Seren Welsh centre had its "best weekly takings ever", and local businesses all over benefitted from increased footfall. There can be no doubt at all that Welsh Independence is a money spinner. 

The economic impact was undoubtedly great, but the real legacy from Saturday's event is much more significant.

It's left a sense of confidence and pride in the air that is infectious. For many attending, it was their first independence parade - and it opened the door to a world they never knew existed.

If this is what Welsh independence feels like, they most definitely want more of it.

All four Indy marches have been special, but this one felt like a game changer - with an almost three-year gap since the Merthyr march in 2019, the Wrecsam march had to impress.

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It was also very much about the movement as a whole coming back together after a tumultuous couple of years. Could the three organisations, Yes Cymru, AUOB Cymru and Indy Fest Wrecsam come together to not only raise the bar, but also get the movement back on track?

The answer was a resounding yes.

Local organisers were determined that the event would take the independence movement up a gear.

The professional stage, big screens and indy market were designed to ensure a festival atmosphere. The lineup of speakers had to connect with people in Wrecsam as well as a wider Welsh audience - and it had to leave a legacy beyond the day itself. 

Independence marches are about creating a buzz, sparking conversations and bringing people together around an exciting idea.

The Wrecsam march did all those things but hopefully it also did something else - it injected a sense of direction into the conversation.

I'll leave you with a few words from the speech I gave on Saturday.

Looking out and connecting heart to heart with thousands of fellow independence supporters was a moment I'll never forget.

There is now a job of work ahead - but after the Wrecsam event, I have no doubt we're all ready for the challenge.

"Marching alone is not enough. 

The roadmap to independence is political - we’ll only secure that independence referendum when we start voting for it, and the work to do that starts here at the grassroots.

"It starts in towns like Wrecsam, convincing people that there is so much more available to us than the dying embers of the British empire - that our culture, our history and our people have a wealth of talent, creativity and spirit to offer the rest of the world in our own right. 

"If we’re going to do this, we all have to be leaders. So if you take one thing away from Wrecsam today, let it be this:

"Do more than march.

"If thinking about the Wales we could have gives you goosebumps and and a fire in your belly, go out and strive for it. 

"Be a leader in your community, step up, and help us win hearts and minds to this ancient cause, one conversation at a time. 

"Because the time has come to give the people of Wales something to believe in."

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