The Fellowship of Life
From the Witney Gazette dated October 2nd 1996
Worshippers were disturbed at prayer when an animal rights activist burst into a church service in Stanton Harcourt on Sunday.
Mrs Cynthia O’Neill, 58, a veteran campaigner, from Church Meadows, Milton-under-Wychwood, disrupted the end of morning service at St Michael’s Church when she demanded that churchgoers pray for an end to vivisection.
“I felt it was my duty to go into the church – the churches have a duty to speak out,” she said.
“I would not be silenced. As they were singing their hymns I asked that they pray for the animals and that vivisection be abolished. I hurt nobody.”
The vicar, the Rev David Murray, said he had never seen Mrs. O’Neill before.
“She was there right at the end of the service. She went and it was no problem,” he said.
Mrs O’Neill, of Milton-under-Wychwood, is well known for the radical methods she uses to get her message across.
Earlier this year, the former nurse was twice stopped by police from using a megaphone outside Tory MP Douglas Hurd’s surgery.
She had resorted to the loud-hailer after the Witney MP refused to see her and discuss animal vivisection.
The University of Oxford went to the courts in 1992 to prevent her trespassing on its land after she protested against its links with animal experiments.
Mrs O’Neill, 58, also claimed the Gateway supermarket in Witney told her to leave in 1994 after she protested against a medical charity stall there.
Banbury magistrates gave her a six-month conditional discharge in 1993 for making nuisance phone calls to the cancer charity Tenovus.
NB Cynthia O’Neill was instrumental in the ten year campaign which resulted in the closure of the Hill Grove cat breeding centre. See: A Cat in Hell’s Chance by Anny Malle (ed.), Slingshot publications, 2002
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