Lasting memorial to Morpeth suffragette welcomed by her great nephew

A relative of suffragette Emily Wilding Davison has thanked those who created a lasting memory in Morpeth for her.

Thursday, 4th July 2019, 6:24 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th July 2019, 1:21 pm
Geoffrey Davison and his wife Rhonda (far left) visit the statue in memory of his great aunt Emily Wilding Davison.

Geoffrey Davison, the great nephew of Emily, visited Morpeth to see the statue in her memory in the town’s Carlisle Park.

The statue was unveiled by the Duchess of Northumberland at a special event last year.

Geoffrey, along with his wife Rhonda, travelled from their home in Australia to see the statue commissioned from Durham sculptor Ray Lonsdale which now has pride of place in the formal flower gardens of the park.

Members of Emily Inspires! joined friends and members of the Davison and Caisley families for a Sunday afternoon picnic at the statue which is only a short distance away from the grave where Emily was buried in St Mary’s Churchyard in 1913 after she died from injuries she received when she was struck by King George V’s horse Anmer during the running of that year’s Epsom Derby.

Geoffrey – a staunch supporter of the ‘Emily Inspires!’ team formed to organise events to mark the centenary of her death in 2013 – said he believed it was fitting that Morpeth at last has a permanent memorial to mark her efforts to win women the right to vote in Edwardian Britain.

He said: “Emily will forever be associated with the communities of Morpeth and Longhorsley which were so dear to her heart. She regularly returned here to recover from the brutalities of prison and force feeding, and indeed it was from Longhorsley that she set out for the last time to travel to London and on to Epsom.”

He paid tribute to the work of Ray Lonsdale and said he was delighted that Emily would forever be remembered for the sacrifices she made in the name of women’s rights.

He said: “I feel very humble and proud to have been able to see for myself what is a wonderful memorial to Emily and all she stood for.”

Penni Blythe, of Emily Inspires!, added: “Our ‘pop-up picnic’ was both an acknowledgement of Emily’s attachment to the region, a celebration of her life and a moving marking of a powerful statue for the first time in the presence of Geoffrey and Rhonda Davison.”