Statue plan for Leeds women gathering pace

Leeds council leader Coun Judith Blake, YEP editor Hannah Thaxter and Rachel Reeves MP.
Leeds council leader Coun Judith Blake, YEP editor Hannah Thaxter and Rachel Reeves MP.
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A campaign to have a new statue or artwork of a prominent woman from Leeds displayed in the city is gathering pace.

Last month, the YEP backed the call of Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves and council leader Judith Blake to have women from the area honoured in this way.

This came after Ms Reeves had been disappointed to find out that the only statues of females in Leeds were of Queen Victoria, Henry Moore’s Reclining Woman and the nymphs in City Square.

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In a joint column, the pair said: “Surely we can do better than that and with Manchester setting about erecting a statue for suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst and Middlesbrough’s ambitions to create a statue for their first woman MP, Ellen Wilkinson, we can and should be doing better.”

It was announced at the beginning of this month that women’s suffrage campaigner Dame Millicent Fawcett will be honoured with her own statue in London’s Parliament Square after complaints of a similar lack of female figures there.

And there is still time for readers to get in touch with us to say which women they think are most deserving of this platform so that Leeds can have its own celebration.

Suggestions made to us so far include pioneering fundraisers Jane Tomlinson and Sue Ryder, suffragist Isabella Ford and sportswomen Beryl Burton and Nicola Adams.

Politicians such as the late Jo Cox and Alice Bacon and the founder of the Leeds International Piano Competition, Dame Fanny Waterman, have also been named.

Let us know who you most admire and draw inspiration from. Funding options are still being considered, so suggestions about sponsorship or other ways of raising cash are also welcomed.

Partick Whelan and Gareth Hayes.

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