Brave and Bold Walks
by Adrian Bean
This week, after months of hard work and planning, it wasn’t just the temperature that broke records at the Cemetery. Record numbers of visitors joined in with 2 walks, highlighting the lives of 13 inspirational, but little-known, women buried here. The walk was our contribution to Bedford’s initiatives to mark the centenary of women being given the vote. Quite rightly, we started with a “Hooray!” for those who have been catalysts for the local initiatives, especially Marion and Rachael, and guests who are good friends to the Cemetery even if they aren’t yet ‘Friends’.
There were 35 guests for the July 16th walk, including relatives of some of the women, and 40 on the 22nd with a further 20 joining from the Crime and Punishment walk immediately beforehand. It was perhaps the first time we thought we really might run out of cakes! Linda led part of the walk. This was her first time, but she was so cool and professional that no-one would have realised.
Included among the 13 women were artists, reformers, teachers and patriots, and for the first time we told the story of Danuta, the brave Polish patriot after whom the walk was named. The mood at her grave was understandably quiet but immensely respectful, and when remembering the Mandela-like serenity of Pearl Thomson, it was joyful. It was also probably the first time that a Suffragette song has been sung at the cemetery, with 60 people loudly singing “Rise Up Women!” at the grave of Ellen Oliver, a Suffragette. Well, after all, a walk round a cemetery should be fun. I didn’t realise I was waving my arms around and throwing enthusiasm in all directions.
Over 1,400 people have now viewed our Facebook post about the walk.
A good week!
Details of the women included in this walk can be found here
April 19, 2021
February 21, 2021
January 27, 2021