Community leaders, students and members of the public will come together next week for an annual service to remember Northumberland Suffragette Emily Wilding Davison.
As has become tradition in recent years, a moving service will be held at St Mary’s Church in Morpeth to commemorate the campaigner as part of the celebrations for International Women’s Day.
The service is held in recognition of the contributions of all women to society worldwide, but it has a particular focus on the Suffragette movement, and especially Emily Wilding Davison’s commitment to the cause.
The Suffragette, who lived with her mother in Longhorsley, was a fervent women’s rights’ campaigner, who was not afraid to use militant tactics. She was jailed on several occasions, and after going on hunger strike in prison, suffered painful and traumatic force-feeding almost 50 times.
She made headlines across the globe when her protest at the 1913 Epsom Derby went terribly wrong and she was struck down by the King’s horse Anmer after stepping onto the racetrack.
Emily never recovered from her injuries and died four days later in hospital.
She was brought to Morpeth by train, with crowds paying tribute all along the route. When she arrived at Morpeth Station thousands of people had gathered to watch her funeral procession to St Mary’s, where she was buried in the churchyard.
During the women’s day service students from King Edward VI School, Morpeth Chantry Middle School, Blyth Academy and the Duchess High Schools in Alnwick will share their thoughts on Emily and equality issues today.
Afterwards, Northumberland County Council Civic Head Kathy Graham will lead the congregation to Emily’s grave to lay flowers on behalf of the people of Northumberland.
She said: “International Women’s Day is an opportunity to reflect on, and celebrate, the contribution of women to society from all walks of life and the challenges they have often had to overcome in order to make their voice heard.”
The service takes place at noon on Friday, March 6. It is open to the public.
Everyone is invited for a hot drink and a bite to eat at Storey Park Community Centre after the commemoration.