THEY sang, they cheered, but above all they vowed they could win.
More than 3,000 people packed into Central Hall, Westminster, on Monday night to hear inspirational speeches by leading protagonists in the fight against airport expansion.
Every seat was taken and the demand to contribute to the show of strength meant a second room had to be opened for 200 extra people.
The proceedings were opened with a performance by the Harmondsworth-based band Pig Earth, who sang the No Third Runway song that was penned by members Neil Keveren and Emma Steele.
Baroness Jenny Tonge, who chaired the event, then encouraged the various MPs who were attending to make themselves known.
Among these were the Conservative members for Ruislip-Northwood, Nick Hurd, and Uxbridge, John Randall, both of whom were staggered by the turnout.
Mr Randall said: “It’s absolutely fantastic – it shows exactly how this is looked at, not just in Hillingdon, but in London and beyond.”
Mr Hurd added: “We are creating a force to say this is a bad decision and it has got to be changed. We are trying to win a rational argument, and we can.”
Hillingdon resident Tony Bond, whose father and grandmother are both buried at Cherry Lane Cemetery in West Drayton, which stands to be destroyed by a new airport road, then spoke.
He said: “It is obscene, and I think many people won’t realise what is happening until the bodies start being exhumed. Not only do BAA want to kill us when we are alive, they want to carry on when we are dead.”
Hayes and Harlington MP John McDonnell (Lab) took the stage to address the rally passionately and drew much applause.
He referred to BAA, who once said it would not need a third runway, as liars and said: “We will keep coming until we stop them. We will be in their face all the way and we will be back and back until they get the message.”
Others who drew massive support included Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate, Brian Paddick, who said if the consultation document was evidence in court it would lead to charges of perjury.
Geraldine Nicholson, chairwoman of NoTRAG, helped close the event by saying: “To do nothing, to be silent, says to BAA and the Government you support this plan.
“Clive Soley (of Future Heathrow which supports expansion) said to me this time it will be done responsibly. Well I’ve got news for him – this time it’s not going to happen at all.”