On 8th March, Lorna and Caroline from Soroptimists and Brenda and myself from Girlguiding Kent Weald attended the International Women’s Day celebration. We met at 10.30 at the Tunbridge Wells Cemetery, where we were given a tour to celebrate the lives of some Extraordinary Tunbridge Wells Women. Councillor Jane March laid rosemary bunches at the graves of these brave, militant Suffragettes and the gentler Suffragists.
On to the Pantiles, where we were joined by over 100 keen supporters, carrying Votes for Women placards, celebrating the centenary of Women’s right to vote. Re-enactments took place at 11 The Pantiles, once a Suffragette meeting place. We walked up to the Town Hall, more enactments at the Town Hall steps and a shop which was a Suffragette HQ.
We took Wetherspoons by storm, which used to be the Tunbridge Wells Opera House, where a militant Suffragette had hidden under the stage in 1913 and disturbed a Liberal Federation Meeting, demanding rights for women. After a chorus of Jerusalem and the Suffragette song, we left a number of drinkers stunned!
Lizzy Adam joined Brenda and me for the March and we then went into the Mayors Chamber for talks from local business women, fundraisers, women soldiers, Miss England and TW Grammar School pupils, giving their thoughts for the future.
At the end of the day we met Guides and Rangers from St. John’s, Southborough and Speldhurst and Bidborough Brownies, who paraded beautiful Suffragette hats in the Shopping Mall. Guides were encouraged to share their thoughts and aspirations for Women in the future. A Rock Choir ended a great day.
A big thank you to everyone who supported us and to Brenda, who organised the event and the making of the ribbons, which raised £127 for DAVSS.