Tragic tale of Emily is told

Morpeth and District U3A

SEVENTY-NINE members attended the last U3A meeting held at Morpeth Rugby Club and the Chairman was pleased to welcome four new members.

One Big Tragedy was the title of a wonderful talk given by Andy Griffen, a brilliant and intriguing speaker.

This was the story of Morpeth’s own heroine Emily Wilding Davison, the Suffragette who did so much to get women the vote.

The Suffragette’s motto was ‘Deeds, not Words’, and the word Suffragette was coined by the Daily Mail in 1906.

As well as giving talks on Emily Wilding Davison, Andy has also produced an e-book on Kindle, which he called In Search of Emily.

In 1906, Emily joined the Women’s Social and Political Union and became involved in many activities to bring women’s rights to the fore.

She was imprisoned for causing a disturbance and for interrupting a speech by David Lloyd George.

She went on hunger strike and barricaded herself in her cell, which was then flooded using hosepipes, but the door was broken down before she could drown.

At the age of 40, on June 4, 1913, Emily tried to draw attention to the Suffragette movement by running onto the racecourse of the Epsom Derby, showing the flags pinned inside her coat.

She tried to catch the bridle of King George V’s horse, but was struck by the horse and her skull was fractured. Emily died four days later on June 8.

But did Emily intend to die?

She had a return ticket in her pocket and it is believed that this act was discussed at a garden fete and may have been practised on Morpeth Common.

Public sympathy was apparent as thousands of people lined the streets as Emily’s funeral procession travelled through Morpeth to St Mary’s Church.

This was a fascinating story, beautifully told, and giving everyone food for much thought.

The next U3A General Meeting will be on Tuesday, at Morpeth Rugby Club, starting at 2pm, when Keith Arksey will be giving his Driving Tips for Winter.

Anyone wishing to know more of Morpeth U3A and its activities should telephone 01670 505899.

Alternatively, visit the website www.u3asites.org.uk/morpeth