Tree Planting to Commemorate the Suffrage Movement

Tree Planting Plaque

Posted on: 6 July 2018

Today, as this year’s National Democracy Week drew to a close, a ceremony was held to commemorate the suffrage movement and the passing of The Representation of the People Act 1918.

The event, which was hosted by the Chairman of the Council, Peter Heal centred around the planting of a tree in Tiverton’s People’s Park. The tree planting was led by the Council’s oldest serving female member, Councillor Eileen Andrews, along with other female members who also took part in laying some soil.

The association between trees and the suffrage movement has a long history. In 1909, a botanical garden dedicated to the political activists was created by the Blathwayt family at their home near Bath. The family offered refuge to more than 60 Suffragettes who had been imprisoned for their political activism and invited them to plant a tree to commemorate their prison sentences and hunger strikes.

Councillor Eileen Andrews and the Chairman of the Council

Councillor Eileen Andrews and the Chairman of the Council

Trees are also a symbol of strength, character, determination, and perseverance – all attributes that these iconic women possessed.

Devon History Society have informed the Council that there were four known Mid Devon Suffragettes, each of whom were recognised during the ceremony with the laying of four flower bouquets for each of them.

The ceremony was attended by: the Council’s Honorary Alderman, Devon History Society, Tiverton Soroptimists and Town Mayors, among others.

Councillor Eileen Andrews, ward member for Cullompton South, said: “I am proud to be leading the planting of this tree in memory of the Suffragettes; not only as a Councillor, but as Cullompton resident Eileen Andrews – it is truly a huge honour.”

This event was part of the inaugural National Democracy Week, which kicked off on Monday 2 July. The week marks the 90th anniversary of the 1928 Equal Franchise act which gave women the same voting rights as men and the centenary of the passing of The Representation of the People Act 1918, which gave the first votes to women and all men.

MDDC Honorary Alderman, female members, and the Chairman

MDDC Honorary Alderman, female members, and the Chairman

Councillor Eileen Andrews leading the tree plant

Councillor Eileen Andrews leading the tree plant

Be the first to Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Posted in: My Council