Seafront march celebrates 100th anniversary of votes for women

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Around 300 women, and some men, gathered in Warrior Square Gardens before setting off on the march. (Picture courtesy of Roberts Photography)

More than 300 women dressed as suffragists or suffragettes, carrying dramatic banners, placards and posters, all of which had been created by local women, marched along Hastings seafront last Saturday writes Ann Kramer.

The purpose of this colourful spectacle was to celebrate the 100 year  anniversary of British women winning the vote, after a long and often bitter campaign.

Women of all ages, and a few men, gathered in Warrior Square from 10am and after singing a rousing rendition of Rise Up Women the procession began at 11am. A huge banner created specially for the occasion by local women from a design by artist Lorna Vahey headed the procession with other banners and placards on show.

The procession proceeded along the promenade passing living statues of Barbara Bodichon, Elsie Bowerman, Muriel Matters and Sophie Deepal Singh; all of whom played a key part in the local and national suffrage campaign.

Singing along the route, the procession wound its way into the town centre and then into St Mary in the Castle for a programme of celebratory events that included a choir of 100 women singing songs of suffrage, including the suffragette anthem: March of the Women.

Local suffrage campaigners from more than 100 years ago, including Barbara Bodichon, Elsie Bowerman and Muriel Matters, were remembered and celebrated as were other women who worked so hard to gain rights for women.

The event was organised by local women’s group Women’s Voice and funded by Heritage Lottery.

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Costumes and colour played an important part in Saturday’s march. (Picture courtesy of Roberts Photography)
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Hastings former Mayor Judy Rogers with fellow Castle Ward councillor Leah Levanne. Judy had a special connection with the suffragettes; her great aunt was an active campaigner and great friend of the Pankhurst family. (Picture courtesy of Roberts Photography)
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Hastings Borough Council’s trolleybus, affectionately known as Happy Harold was on hand to help with transportation. (Picture courtesy of Roberts Photography)
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Colourful banners and placards were an important part of the march. (Picture courtesy of Roberts Photography)
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Making a statement. (Picture courtesy of Roberts Photography)
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Local women created a special banner (left) from a design by artist Lorna Vahey. (Picture courtesy of Roberts Photography)
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Before heading in to St Mary in the Castle there were some rousing songs (Picture courtesy of Roberts Photography) 
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