Women get on their bikes to remember life of a heroine

Philippa Raper looking for female cyclists to take part in a cycle ride which will mark the 100 year anniversary of the death of Suffragette Emily Wilding Davison.
Philippa Raper looking for female cyclists to take part in a cycle ride which will mark the 100 year anniversary of the death of Suffragette Emily Wilding Davison.

FEMALE pedal power is being sought for one of the main activities to mark the 100th anniversary of Emily Wilding Davison’s death.

It is known that she rode a bicycle made in the Suffragette colours by Elswick Cycles in Newcastle and event organisers are hoping that women from across the region will sign up to join in the nine-mile cycle ride – which will cover a route from Longhorsley, where Emily’s family lived, to Morpeth where she was laid to rest.

Emily Davison campaigned passionately for women’s rights.

In June 1913, her name became known around the world when she stepped onto the track at Epsom Racecourse and was struck by King George V’s horse Anmer while trying to pin the Suffragette colours on the animal.

She never recovered from her injuries and died four days later in hospital. On June 15, her body arrived by train at the railway station in Morpeth, where huge crowds gathered to watch the funeral procession as it made its way through the town to St Mary’s Churchyard where she was buried in the family grave.

The events to commemorate her life and death will culminate in a Centennial Weekend next month and the special cycle will take place on the morning of Saturday, June 15.

Main organiser of the ride, Philippa Raper of Janus Creative, hopes that a total of 100 women will take part.

“Emily herself was a keen cyclist and cycling played an important part in the women’s suffrage campaign,” she said.

“Suffragettes used the bikes to ride around their locality – handing out leaflets and spreading their message.

“The Suffragette movement always courted controversy and women on bikes were not always welcomed into the community.

“We hope that mothers and daughters will come and join in the ride.

“We want it to be a bit of fun, it is certainly not a race.

“The route is relatively flat, with one slight incline and a steep downhill section into Mitford.

“We hope too that some people will join in the spirit of the occasion by either dressing themselves or their bikes in Suffragette colours.”

Participants in the ride must be 14 years of age or over and all under 18s must be accompanied by an adult.

The ride will take place mainly along country lanes and it is expected to last between one and one-and-a-half hours.

Those wishing to take part can download a registration form at www.emilyinspires.co.uk

There will be a charge of £7, which covers the shuttle service that will transport cyclists and their bikes from Morpeth to Longhorsley. For safety reasons, only those who have pre-registered can take part.

The website will also provide further information about the route, safety support and departure times.