Writer, history researcher, biographer

#ElizabethRaffald for the Womanchester statue

Posted by Suze Appleton on Friday, June 5, 2015 Under: Elizabeth Raffald

Well things are getting exciting in the hunt for the forgotten Elizabeth.

First, thanks to my mum telling me about a campaign being run in the Manchester Evening News, I managed to get her accepted as a nominee for Manchester's first female statue since Queen Victoria. I put her name forward among the likes of Elizabeth Gaskell, the Pankhursts, Marie Stopes and many other tremendous women who have created progress in Manchester. Once the long list of 20 names was compiled there was a launch event last week at which the supporter of each nominee was given a minute to say why their candidate was worthy of a statue. Going in strictly alphabetical order Elizabeth Raffald came up 16th, after the three Pankhursts, not a slot I would have chosen! I struggled to cram enough about her into 1 minute to give a flavour of my heroine but thankfully there was another supporter there and he also added some details after me. I think she was the only woman who had 2 people speaking for her.

It was a great event and I want to thank Andrew Simcock, @Andrew4Didsbury, for organising the whole campaign and I couldn't believe it when the catering staff at the event came round dishing out Eccles cakes, a delicacy that Elizabeth Raffald is credited with modernising. That was a gift I was sure to capitalise on. So now Andrew is undertaking a 20 day cycle ride from Lands End to John O'Groats to raise sponsorship towards the statue. June 25th is dedicated to Elizabeth Raffald so that's when I'll be donating my bit. After that the 20 names will be whittled down to 5 for the final vote, with a final decision to be around Christmas time this year. Until then the Manchester Evening News is running a poll to gauge the popularity of each candidate so I'm working hard to raise the profile of Elizabeth Raffald. Go here to take part

This week I was in a group of Manchester women from WIs and we got together to celebrate our centenary AGM. The real meeting was held in the Albert Hall, London, but through a satellite link up we were able to take part in the historic occasion. What struck me through the day was that some of the qualities of WI women through the ages were similar to those shown by Elizabeth. Lucy Worsley talked about the difference women had made to their communities in the last hundred years. From the small beginnings in a shed in Wales to the current 220,000 membership, women through the ages had been motivated by a desire to improve things around them, to contribute to improving things in their area, and maybe make a few quid while doing so. These were all qualities and motivations that Elizabeth shared, 250 years previously. She was a lone pioneer, a woman ahead of her time trying to make her way in the world and make a difference to those around her. She lived in a time when married women had no legal rights and yet she found a way through it without fighting the system, without becoming oppositional. She simply got on and did what she saw was needed around her. She truly was an uncommon woman of her time.

If you haven't read my book about her yet you can get it here on Amazon.

In : Elizabeth Raffald 

Tags: #elizabethraffald @andrew4didsbury #womanchesterstatue