A campaign group which plans to unveil a statue in Congleton’s town centre of inspirational suffragist Elizabeth Wolstenhome Elmy has raised almost half of their £50,000 fundraising target.
Elizabeth’s Group, which was launched in May 2018, is a local Congleton cause under the Co-op Local Community Fund.
The fund helps pay for local projects that Co-op members care about. Every time members shop with the Co-op, 1% of what they spend on selected own-branded products and services goes to help fund community projects where they live.
The planned bronze statue unveiling of Mrs Wolstenhome Elmy on 8th March 2022, which is international women’s day, will be one of only a very few statues in the country of women. 2022 is also an important year for Congleton, as it is the 750th year of the charter. The Group is excited to have secured the support of Baroness Brenda Hale who has agreed to unveil the statue.
Elizabeth’s Group chair Susan Munro, who has been keeping the public informed during lockdown by a series of online videos, which can be seen on their Facebook page or their website, said: “Our relationship with the Co-op has been excellent and I was delighted that we were chosen as a local cause.
“I registered Elizabeth’s Group as a potential local cause after speaking to a woman on a cookery course, who worked for the Co-op, and she explained that Elizabeth’s Group is exactly the type of local project they would like to support.
“I only had three days to put the application together, but I was delighted to hear that Elizabeth’s Group had been chosen.”
Mrs Wolstenhome Elmy who lived in Congleton from 1864 to 1918, and opened a girls’ school in Moody Street, use to give educational talks with her husband Ben Elmy in a lecture room/library provided by the Co-op and Elizabeth started a Co-op Women’s Society in the town.
Mrs Munro added: “Elizabeth had strong links with the Co-op, and with us as a group now working with them on behalf of Elizabeth, it continues the long history they have had together.”
Elizabeth’s Group has been working alongside the Co-op since November last year and in that time £1,009 has been raised for the local cause, which will go towards their statue fund and work in the community.
Once the country starts to return to normality following Covid-19, residents will be able to join members of Elizabeth’s Group on the route of Elizabeth’s Trail, which will involve plaques being installed at four key buildings throughout the town and a route between them making an informative history tour about Mrs Elmy.
Elizabeth’s Group patron and Elizabeth’s biographer, Dr Maureen Wright, will also be holding a rescheduled inaugural Elizabeth Elmy lecture, which will then be held every year.
Mrs Munro stated that the group had commissioned a scheme of work that schools can use to teach pupils about Elizabeth and local historian Linda Hulse has published a book about Mrs Elmy’s life which can be purchased from their Facebook Page or The Chronicle Office.
For more information on Elizabeth's Group click here.