Special ceremony attended by Prime Minister sees statue of Suffolk’s Millicent Fawcett unveiled in Parliament Square
- Credit: PA
Suffolk-born campaigner Millicent Fawcett – a key player in the fight for women’s suffrage – has become the first woman to be honoured with a statue in one of London’s most famous squares.
The well-known suffragist, who grew up in Aldeburgh, has joined the likes of Sir Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi and is the first female representation outside the Palace of Westminster.
Today the statue – which depicts a 50-year-old Dame Fawcett holding a banner reading “Courage calls to courage everywhere” – was officially unveiled at a special ceremony attended by Prime Minister Theresa May and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.
The daughter of Newson Garrett, the businessman who built Snape Maltings, Fawcett began a peaceful campaign in 1866 to get women the vote.
Her stance was at odds with the Suffragette movement, who employed more militant tactics.
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She chose to use diplomacy to steer the case for women’s suffrage through Parliament instead.
When it was announced that the statue would feature Fawcett, her great-great-nephew welcomed the news.
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He said: “I think it’s absolutely marvellous and very deserved.
“I feel very proud of her.”
While Margaret Young, another relative who lives near Ipswich, said it was “wonderful news”.
“The family will be delighted that she has been recognised,” she added.
“She was a tremendous leader for the suffrage movement and involved right from the beginning.”
Speaking before the unveiling at a private viewing, Mr Khan said: “When you think of the great people in Parliament Square and when you realise that not one of them is a woman, it sort of begs the question, are we saying there haven’t been incredible women in the past?
“That our country hasn’t been built on the back of great women?”
He added: “Londoners are going to love it. They will be blown away.”