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Emmeline Pankhurst statue unveiled in Manchester

PUBLISHED: 00:00 28 January 2019

Sculptor Hazel Reeves with Emmeline's great grand-daughter Helen Pankhurst at the unveiling of the new statue in Manchester's St Peter's Square

Sculptor Hazel Reeves with Emmeline's great grand-daughter Helen Pankhurst at the unveiling of the new statue in Manchester's St Peter's Square

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A new statue in Manchester celebrates the leader of the suffragette movement

Marchers arrive in St Peter's Square before the unveiling of the Emmeline Pankhurst statueMarchers arrive in St Peter's Square before the unveiling of the Emmeline Pankhurst statue

A statue has been unveiled in Manchester to the woman you voted the greatest Lancastrian of all time. A hundred years after the first women in the UK voted in a General Election, the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst was unveiled in St Peter’s Square.

The statue, which was created by sculptor Hazel Reeves, is the first of a woman in Manchester since Queen Victoria was unveiled in Piccadilly Gardens in 1901. The statue depicts Emmeline standing on a chair, arm outstretched, as she addresses a crowd.

In an event that reflected Emmeline’s rallying calls of ‘Rise up, women’ and ‘Deeds not words’, her legacy was honoured by people of all ages, including over 1,000 schoolchildren, who marched from her former home, the Pankhurst Centre, to take part in the unveiling.

Emmeline’s great grand-daughter Helen Pankhurst, said: ‘Our Emmeline is not only a wonderful tribute to the life and work of Emmeline Pankhurst, but is also an incredible legacy to the suffragette movement and the role of Manchester’s women in campaigning for the vote. I hope Our Emmeline inspires all those who are now helping to continue the ongoing journey towards achieving equality.

‘She has been welcomed back with a march, as of old, to a meeting circle, as of old. In this statue, she is campaigning, still beckoning us on, because despite all the progress in women’s lives, there is still work to be done, here in Manchester, in the country as a whole and globally. It’s important that Emmeline is here. She is a local hero and a global icon, a symbol of women rising, defying their secondary status, demanding change.’

In 2017, as part of the celebrations to mark Lancashire Life’s 70th anniversary, readers voted overwhelmingly for Emmeline to be crowned the greatest ever Lancastrian.

Cllr Andrew Simcock, the chair of the Emmeline Pankhurst Statue Committee, said: ‘The unveiling of Our Emmeline celebrated the legacy of those who campaigned for the right to vote and remembered their sacrifices and bravery.’

And speaking at the unveiling ceremony, sculptor Hazel Reeves, addressed Emmeline directly and said: ‘Emmeline, we need you as much as ever, back on our streets, continuing to inspire us all - women and men – to rise up and demand gender equality and demand the end to violence against women. We need to channel your passion, courage and determination and take this back into our lives – into our homes, into our communities, into our workplaces.’

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