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Help us choose 100 inspiring Suffolk women - nominate someone today

PUBLISHED: 12:21 26 May 2018 | UPDATED: 13:11 26 May 2018

The statue of Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square. Picture: Garry Knight

The statue of Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square. Picture: Garry Knight

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Today we launch a quest: To find, with your help, the Suffolk women making great and positive differences to our lives.

After the final 100 inspiring Suffolk women have been selected, they will be invited to an event later this year.After the final 100 inspiring Suffolk women have been selected, they will be invited to an event later this year.

The reason is simple: We want to honour the numerous inspirational women of today who deserve to be recognised for their successes. And, in doing so, we’ll also remember the achievements of those who have gone before.

In partnership with Suffolk Chamber of Commerce we’re putting together a list of 100 Inspiring Suffolk Women and inviting readers to nominate their choices by writing up to 100 words explaining why and how they inspire. The names will go before a panel that will choose the final list.

Those 100 women will be invited to a special lunch at Milsoms Kesgrave Hall, near Ipswich, later this year. Tickets will also go on general sale, so members of the public can join this celebration of local female endeavour, bravery, flair, passion, persistence and achievement.

We are looking for nominations from all backgrounds, sectors and environments. We want to know about the exceptional entrepreneurs, the inspiring leaders and the trailblazing women who are leading the way, and who you think should be recognised as positive role models for future generations.

Surgeon Clare Marx was president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England for three years  the first woman in that role. Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVESurgeon Clare Marx was president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England for three years  the first woman in that role. Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVE

It couldn’t be simpler to nominate the person you believe to be an inspiring Suffolk woman.

Just tell us her name and, in up to 100 words, why she impresses you so much. Please include, too, your name, address, phone number and email address if you use one.

A panel will consider all nominations and draw up a list of 100 Inspiring Suffolk Women, whose achievements and examples will be celebrated this autumn.

Send your nominations by email or post to Inspiring Suffolk Women, features department, East Anglian Daily Times, Portman House, 120 Princes Street, Ipswich, IP1 1RS

Franstine Jones became the first female president of the National Black Police Association. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNFranstine Jones became the first female president of the National Black Police Association. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Women in the public eye: past and present

To remind us of what has been and is being done in the county, here’s a quick (and very selective!) look at some of our achievers from the past and their contemporary counterparts.

It’s a varied list – aviation and medical pioneers, West End stars, a medal-winning athlete, a campaigner who changed history for millions of people, a famous face from EastEnders, and more.

West End singing star 
Kerry Ellis in 2012. Picture: Gregg BrownWest End singing star Kerry Ellis in 2012. Picture: Gregg Brown

Let’s start with the woman of the moment: Millicent Fawcett. A member of the amazing Garrett clan that lived in Aldeburgh, this suffragist worked tirelessly (and non-violently) to win hearts and minds from the mid-1800s. In 1918 it helped result in the first

women in Britain winning the right to vote. One crucial glass ceiling had been cracked – and would later shatter.

Then there’s her sister, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, who through persistence, determination and hard work battled and beat the constraining hand of tradition and became the first female doctor to qualify in England.

She opened a school of medicine for women and built an unstoppable momentum that

The Very Reverend Canon Dr Frances Ward in 2010 became the first female dean of St Edmundsbury Cathedral  and only the Church of Englands fourth female dean. Picture: PHIL MORLEYThe Very Reverend Canon Dr Frances Ward in 2010 became the first female dean of St Edmundsbury Cathedral  and only the Church of Englands fourth female dean. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

has put women and men on a par in the medical world in this country.

That wasn’t all. After retiring to Aldeburgh, Elizabeth in 1908 became England’s first female mayor.

Ipswich’s Edith Cook: When she took the controls of a plane at the end of 1909, she became Britain’s first female pilot. Sadly, Edith died the following summer, after being hurt jumping (with a parachute) from a balloon.

Sue Ryder, one of Suffolk’s adopted daughters, could be exasperating and unconventional but she got things done – and always with the aim of helping people. When you’re remembered in Poland, as she still is, nearly 20 years after her death, you’ve made a lasting impression.

Baroness Ryder of Warsaw is best known for turning her mother’s house at Cavendish, near Sudbury, into a home in the early 1950s – its first residents people once incarcerated in Nazi concentration camps. Later came a string of homes that looked after people with challenging medical conditions.

Modern life, too, offers numerous examples to inspire.

Ipswich Hospital surgeon Clare Marx was made a dame in the New Year Honours. She was president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England for three years – the first woman in that role.

In sport, para-powerlifter Zoe Newson’s medal collection had a bronze added to it at the recent Commonwealth Games in Australia.

Sarah Howard, former president of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and awarded the MBE for helping the community of Haverhill, became vice-president of the British Chambers of Commerce.

Poli Mohan was born in Kenya and started working for the Ipswich and Suffolk Indian Association in 2007, later becoming chairwoman. The charity helps Indian people in Suffolk and runs community events such as the Indian Summer Mela and Holi Festival of Colour.

The Very Reverend Canon Dr Frances Ward in 2010 became the first female dean of St Edmundsbury Cathedral – and only the Church of England’s fourth female dean.

In the media we’ve got people such as West End stars Ruthie Henshall and Kerry Ellis; EastEnders favourite June “Dot Cotton” Brown (born in Needham Market, raised in Ipswich and now 91); painter Maggi Hambling, and electro-swing DJ, producer and singer Tallulah Goodtimes.

Former Ipswich pupil Franstine Jones was the first woman president of the National Black Police Association.

Mischa Pearson started The Teapot Project in 2015. It takes edible food heading for landfill and transforms it into meals for folk who need it.

Minnie Moll, a joint chief executive of the East of England Co-op, took a courageous decision to tell her own story of childhood sexual abuse when she became an ambassador for charity Fresh Start - new beginnings.

Anaesthesia and critical care expert Dr Pam Chrispin’s CV includes roles such as deputy medical director at West Suffolk Hospital and medical director of the East of England Ambulance Service Trust. As a volunteer, she’s put much time and

energy into Suffolk Accident Rescue Service.

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