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Suffragist’s statue ‘needs to be among the people’

Congletonians were this week given a preview of how a suffragist statue in the town centre might look, as part of a bid to boost donations and garner support for the scheme.

Last Monday, members of Elizabeth’s Group, that has been raising money for a sculpture of women’s rights campaigner Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy, stood in the spot on Bridge Street where they hope the statue will be installed in less than a year’s time.

They wanted to remind people that Elizabeth, who lived and owned a school in the town while fighting for women’s equality, was relatively short in stature – so a life-size sculpture would not be too imposing.

The group’s visit to the town centre also marked International Women’s Day, exactly a year away from the statue’s 2022 unveiling.

The project will cost £64,000 and two thirds has been raised so far through public donations. Chair of the group Susan Munro explained how campaigners were putting their efforts into a “big push” for the last third.

“We asked our smallest member, Heather Watson, to pose where the statue will go, so we could give people an idea of what it might look like,” said Mrs Munro. “Elizabeth herself was just under 5ft, so that tells you how big we are talking.

“The point we were trying to get across last week is that the statue needs to go in the town centre because it is street art; it needs to be among the people.

“When Elizabeth was alive, she would have been campaigning in the town and people in the community would have been able to see her all the time.

“It is also true that Elizabeth, as a historical figure, has been hidden for nearly 100 years. She was written out of history and we want to put her back where she can be seen.”

Mrs Munro also said that Hazel Reeves, an internationally celebrated artist who has been commissioned to sculpt Elizabeth, works in 360 degrees so the statue would need to be seen from all angles.

The group plans to have the statue installed on Bridge Street near Boots pharmacy, set back from the T-junction with Victoria Street.

To donate, visit elizabethelmy.com.

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