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Big response to National Democracy Week garden party celebration of equal votes for women and men

Published: Tuesday, 3 July, 2018

Almost 500 people helped mark the start of National Democracy Week at Stroud District Council’s garden party celebration of the 90th anniversary of equal voting rights for men and women.

Staged at the Museum in the Park, Stroud, on Sunday, July 1, some 488 members of the public, and councillors were welcomed by council staff including Chief Executive David Hagg dressed in period costume, who told the story of the Suffragists’ struggle for equal voting rights over several decades.

Stroud has strong links with the Suffragist movement – Margaret Hills played an important role in it and became Stroud Urban District Council’s first female councillor. Displays and a talk revealed much of the detail of her life which until recently remained largely unknown.

Monday, July 2, 2018 marks 90 years since The Equal Franchise Right was passed to give equal voting rights to women and men, and marked the start of National Democracy Week. So Stroud District Council Elections Team, The Museum in the Park staff and many other volunteers hosted the Garden Party to get the week off to a flying start.

District councillors Skeena Rathor, Tom Skinner, George Butcher and Chas Townley, Stroud MP David Drew and Stroud Town Council member Sarah Lunnon all gave well-attended talks on various aspects of local and national democracy, and fielded questions from members of the public.

Gloucestershire County Council chairman Andrew Gravells also attended and was impressed with what he saw.

“Equali-teas” and cakes were served, and bunting made in the museum’s recently-transformed walled garden, before a procession through Stratford Park with banners made on the day.

Elections officer and event organiser Hatty Davis was very pleased with the response to the event.

“We would like to thank everyone who came along – our volunteers, our speakers and members of Stroud District Youth Council,” she said. “It was very rewarding to see so many people enjoying themselves and engaging in debate about democracy.”

National Democracy Week activities continue in the Stroud district this week, with SDC Elections Team staff taking part in classroom takeovers at Rednock, Marling, Archway and Stroud High schools followed by a debating session at the council’s Ebley Mill HQ on Friday.

*Saturday, July 14 sees a street performance of The Secret Suffragist, celebrating the life of Margaret Hills, from 1.30pm in Stroud High Street.

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