Campaigners launch appeal to raise initial £15,000 for suffragette statue

Briony Goulden, Hazel Reeves and Jean Calder at the Manchester unveiling of Hazels statue of Emmeline Pankhurst
Briony Goulden, Hazel Reeves and Jean Calder at the Manchester unveiling of Hazels statue of Emmeline Pankhurst

Pavilion Gardens could one day feature a statue of Brighton suffragette Mary Clarke.

Local charity For Our Daughters is campaigning for the statue which is set to pay tribute to the prominent Brighton suffragette more than 100 years after the first women won the right to vote.

Mary Clarke was Emmeline Pankhurst’s sister, and the organiser in Brighton for the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) from 1909 until 1910, when she died.

Campaigners said the statue would be ‘a symbol for the city of equality, democracy and women’s rights’.

Sculptor Hazel Reeves has been asked to make the maquette and, funding permitting, the statue.

Hazel, who lives locally, sculpted the recently unveiled Manchester statue of Emmeline Pankhurst, the Cracker Packers in Carlisle, and the statue of Sir Nigel Gresley in Kings Cross Station.

Briony Goulden, a member of the appeal’s steering group, and a great, great niece of Mary Clarke, said: “We are delighted that Hazel has agreed to work with us on this project. She has made many wonderful statues of women and men – including the inspiring new statue of Mary’s sister, Emmeline Pankhurst.”

Jean Calder, the chair of the appeal’s steering group, has called for pledges in support of the project.

She said: “The statue is planned to be a figurative, bronze sculpture, either life-size or larger, which will be in keeping with the environment.

“It is hoped that it can be sited in or very near the Pavilion Estate which has historic links with the suffrage movement. We believe it should be accessible to the public, allowing adults and children – especially those on school trips to the Museum – to approach and touch it, with sufficient space in front of it to look and learn as well as pose safely for photographs.”

Campaigners are hoping to raise £10,000 for the costs of the maquette and an initial £5,000 to do preparatory work.

Brighton and Hove City Council has offered to help kick start the project with £10,000 funding, but it first needs to be approved at Budget Council next month.

Jean said: “We are delighted about this – and so grateful to the councillors involved. This proposal for financial support has been agreed across political parties and provides a fitting end to the Centenary year. We hope it will be unanimously confirmed at the Budget Meeting.”

To donate or offer support to the appeal contact jean.calder101@gmail.com.