A ‘Suffragettes in the City’ event was hosted by Manchester High School for Girls (MHSG) at Harvey Nichols in Manchester.From left: Natasha Oldbury (15) from Cheadle, Charlotte Dobrev (14) from Altrincham, MHSG Head Mistress Mrs Claire Hewitt, and Mia Serracino-Inglott (17) from Didsbury
The occasion recognised the school’s close connection with the Pankhurst sisters and 100 years of votes for women, as well as the milestone of welcoming the 100th Pankhurst bursary girl to MHSG.
More than £21,000 was raised on the night with all proceeds going directly to the Pankhurst Bursary Fund. The Pankhurst Bursary Appeal was launched by the school in 2010 with the goal of raising £2 million to ensure that 100 girls, all with real potential, could benefit from a Manchester High education, regardless of their financial circumstances.
Headmistress, Mrs Claire Hewitt, said: “Thanks to donations from supporters, our target has been reached and the 100th girl will begin their educational journey at the School in September. However, we won’t be resting on our laurels; we are busy working on fundraising which will enable the next 100 girls to benefit from the superb education offered by the School.”
‘Suffragettes in the City’ paid homage to the school’s famous alumnae; Christabel, Sylvia and Adela Pankhurst, and the suffragette movement. Indeed, Manchester High was the school where Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the movement, chose to educate her three pioneering daughters.
Of this special link, Claire Hewitt, said: “We are proud of our heritage and we have relished the opportunities to celebrate our connection with these amazing women. Last year, a group of our pupils were invited to view the shortlisted maquettes of the Emmeline Pankhurst statue which will be erected in St. Peter’s Square. This year, we took a giant cake version of the statue made by a former pupil for Channel 4’s programme, ‘Extreme Cake Makers’, to stand on the specific spot.”Dr Jonquille Chantrey
During Saturday’s ‘Suffragettes in the City’ event, guests were entertained by the school’s vocal group, jazz band and drama students who performed a special rendition of Sister Suffragette, a pro-suffrage song from the Disney film, Mary Poppins.
Councillor Andrew Simcock, Chair of the Emmeline Pankhurst Statue Campaign, was one of the special guests on the night and helped with an exclusive Suffragette themed auction featuring two signed prints; ‘Women Like You’ by Charlotte Newson and ‘Pankhurst Punk’ by Mancsy.
Cllr Simcock said: “I was delighted to attend the Suffragettes in the City event on Saturday. I have worked on a variety of projects with Manchester High School for Girls over the last two years. As Chair of the Emmeline Pankhurst Statue Campaign I know how much the School values its connections with her.
“The next big event in the statue campaign calendar is the unveiling of the white Portland stone meeting circle which will surround the statue. This is on Sunday, 15th July. The statue itself will be unveiled on Friday, 14th December; the 100th anniversary of some women voting for the first time in a British General Election.”From left MHSG student Charlotte Dobrev (14) from Altrincham, Mrs Carol Nash with her daughter Mrs Jane Bold
The money raised on the night was achieved through the auction, commemorative Suffragette badges, a raffle and pledges for regular donations.
Claire Hewitt added: “We would like to thank the event’s sponsors; JMW, Pareto, Zeal Creative, and Food Sorcery for their support, as well as all the individuals and businesses who donated auction and raffle prizes, took out an advert or attended our ‘Suffragettes in the City’ event.
Next year we will take our fundraising Bursary Ball to the Principal Hotel in Manchester on Saturday 29th June and it promises to be a very exciting event which we are looking forward to.”