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‘Votes for women’ - Dereham marks 100 years since the Act that paved the way for women’s votes

PUBLISHED: 17:09 09 February 2018 | UPDATED: 11:10 14 February 2018

Mayor of Dereham, Hilary Bushell, front centre, and students from Northgate High School, mark the 100th anniversary of the passing of the Act allowing some women and all men to vote.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mayor of Dereham, Hilary Bushell, front centre, and students from Northgate High School, mark the 100th anniversary of the passing of the Act allowing some women and all men to vote. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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School children, councillors and onlookers headed to the centre of Dereham to mark a century since the act that paved the way to universal suffrage.

MP George Freeman chats to the Mayor of Dereham, Hilary Bushell, centre, and students from Northgate High School, as they mark the 100th anniversary of the passing of the Act allowing some women and all men to vote.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYMP George Freeman chats to the Mayor of Dereham, Hilary Bushell, centre, and students from Northgate High School, as they mark the 100th anniversary of the passing of the Act allowing some women and all men to vote. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Dereham mayor Hilary Bushell was joined by several former mayors dressed as suffragettes and a parade of 20 young people from Northgate High School to celebrate 100 years since the Representation of the People Act was signed, allowing the first British women the right to vote.

The students paraded from the school to the Market Place holding placards emblazoned with the words “Votes for Women”. They also met with locals and handed out leaflets which outlined the Act.

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman also dropped by to show his support. Mr Freeman has a personal link to the movement as a descendant of Mabel Philipson, a politician who was the fourth female MP to be elected and third to serve in the House of Commons after it was made possible in 1918.

Ms Bushell said the day went “extremely well”.

PC Oliver Button in ceremonial uniform, with Northgate High School student, Hannah Cork, 12, at the event to mark the 100th anniversary of the passing of the Act allowing some women and all men to vote.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPC Oliver Button in ceremonial uniform, with Northgate High School student, Hannah Cork, 12, at the event to mark the 100th anniversary of the passing of the Act allowing some women and all men to vote. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“The young people from Northgate High School were truly amazing, they marched through the town and then, after having a talk with George Freeman, handed out leaflets to the people during a walk in the town,” she said.

“Many were very impressed at the placards and presence of the school and long after they returned to the school people were still commenting.

“It was an ideal day for the public to see how the local school interacted with myself and other former Mayors, as well as the public.”

She added that the heavy rain in the morning did not deter from the event because it showed “the true grit that would have been expected of the Suffragette Movement”.

The leaflet handed out to passers by in Dereham at the event to mark the 100th anniversary of the passing of the Act allowing some women and all men to vote.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe leaflet handed out to passers by in Dereham at the event to mark the 100th anniversary of the passing of the Act allowing some women and all men to vote. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Andy Mason, Head of Northgate High School, said: “Northgate High School were very proud to be part of the Suffragette commemoration event.

“Organised by the mayor of Dereham, students had the opportunity to focus on the theme on democracy, with students across the age range having the opportunity to engage with invited guests, and George Freeman MP who has also invited our students to visit the Houses of Parliament.

“We are very proud of our students who spoke eloquently about democracy to the guests attending.”

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