Campaigners have expressed concern about how women’s rights activist Emily Wilding Davison might be portrayed in a forthcoming blockbuster movie.
The film called Suffragette is due to be released in September and boasts an all star cast including Meryl Streep as Emmeline Pankhurst, Helena Bonham Carter and Carey Mulligan.
It also features Natalie Press as Davison, who is buried in Morpeth, Northumberland, following her death after being hit by the King’s horse during the 1913 Derby.
The ‘Emily Inspires’ group, which is based in Northumberland and has the backing of Davison’s descendants, became concerned after a website revealed details of a film about Emily which appeared to suggest she had committed suicide that day.
Its Chair, Andrew Tebbutt, explained:
“We’re concerned because we understand there has been blurb for it talking of her throwing herself in front of the horse.
“A letter has been sent to the makers about this but we’ve heard nothing back yet as far as I’m aware.”
We tried to contact award winning writer Abi Morgan who penned Suffragette to clear up the matter.
However, on her behalf, we received a statement from Pathe, which is co-producing the film with Film4 productions, which said:
“Abi Morgan won’t be doing any interviews about the film until much closer to the release in the Autumn.
“Unfortunately I must ask you to wait to see the film before commenting on how Emily Davison is portrayed. The one thing I can tell you now is that she is a supporting character in the film, so is not the focus of the story.”
For many years it had been said that Davison did, in effect, commit suicide by steeping in the front of the horse, Anmer.
Recently, however, modern historians have ruled out the suicide theory. In 2013 analysis of newsreel has supported the idea that Davison was reaching up to attach a scarf to the bridle of the King’s horse.
Analysis of the newsreel also indicated that her position before she stepped out onto the track would have given her a clear view of the oncoming race, further countering the belief that she ran out in a haphazard way to kill herself.
Mr Tebbutt said: “If you re going to some sort of historical documentary, do it properly and tell the truth.
“She was quite happy to die for the cause of getting women the vote, but that is not what she intended to do that day.
“She was preparing to go see her nephew and niece in France afterwards – she had a return ticket. So her intention was not to die that day.”
Emily Inspires said another movie called Emily: Deeds Not Words had spoken of her as a “terrorist” and a “martyr”.
They said it was possible this film had been confused with Suffragette.
Davison was born in London the daughter of Northumberland parents. She was a militant activist who fought for women to be given the vote in Britain and was jailed on nine occasions and force-fed 49 times.
Davison died four days after the Derby incident from the injuries she suffered.
Her funeral was organised by the Women’s Social and Political Union and thousands of suffragettes accompanied the coffin while tens of thousands of people lined the streets of London.
After a service in Bloomsbury her coffin was taken by train to the family grave in the church yard of St. Mary the Virgin, Morpeth.
Source – Sunday Sun, 29 Mar 2015
> The events were captured by newsreel –
Cash-strapped South Tyneside has the second-highest level of personal debt in England, a shock new report reveals.
Statistics show that 607 clients visited the borough’s Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) between July and September last year, with debt-related concerns.
Concern over debt now accounts for a staggering 42 per cent of that bureau’s workload.
A new national CAB report also reveals that South Tyneside has the fourth-highest level of personal debt in England and Wales.
However, when two Welsh authorities are taken out of the equation, it emerges as the second worst debt-hit area in England – just behind Stoke-on-Trent.
Ian Thompson, chief executive of South Tyneside CAB, based at the Edinburgh Buildings in South Shields, revealed that priority debt, such as rent and Council Tax, had spiralled in recent years.
Meanwhile, advice workers are expecting a further surge in demand for the service this month as borough residents begin to count the cost of Christmas spending.
Mr Thompson revealed that debt-related problems are so great that some clients in the past have committed suicide as an escape from them.
The seriousness of the situation has led him to write a letter to every elected member on South Tyneside Council, outlining the situation and his concerns.
Mr Thompson said:
“We know there is an awful lot of debt in the borough.
“Forty two per cent of our work is working with clients with debt problems.
“That’s a staggering figure when you consider that we deal with a whole range of issues, ranging from employment to housing and much more besides.
“The sort of debt we are encountering has changed during my time with the bureau, from credit card debt and to priority debts, such as Council Tax arrears and rent arrears.
“These are life-changing, priority debts which can lead to people losing the roof over their heads.
“Unmanageable debt causes untold misery and can require the intervention of GPs for the treatment of depression.
“We have also had, as an extreme example, clients committing suicide because of the pressures they are under.
“From mid-January we are expecting a surge in the need for debt-related advice. Prior to Christmas, people tend not to think too much about debt – then the bills and credit card demands start to arrive.”
Top of CAB’s personal debt chart for England and Wales are two Welsh authorities – Denbighshire and Merthyr Tydfil.
In the North East the other worst-hit authorities are Darlington (5th), North Tyneside (8th), Gateshead (12th) and Middlesbrough (13th).
Source – Shields Gazette, 15 Jan 2015
Almost 600 people have committed suicide in Middlesbrough and Stockton since 1997.
Whilst the number of suicides has fluctuated over a 17-year period there has been a decreasing trend in numbers.
But preventing suicide is on the agenda for Middlesbrough Council, which is meeting on Tuesday to discuss the issue.
Between 1997 and 2013, 289 suicides had taken place in Middlesbrough, which was the second highest number in the Tees area behind Stockton with 293.
Men accounted for 76% of suicides, in line with national trends.
Statistically, the most common month for suicides was January followed by May and October.
The most frequent method used was hanging/strangulation at 45%, followed by self-poisoning at 32%.
However, there is a difference in gender with 52% of males using hanging compared to 24% of females whilst 57% of females used self-poisoning compared to 23% for males.
Jumping from a height was the third most frequent method of suicide in Teesside and it was noted in a report presented to the panel that there are many high points in the area.
The Overview and Scrutiny Board is to discuss the Tees Suicide Prevention Implementation Plan.
These include reducing the risk of suicide in key high risk groups; reducing access to the means of suicide; and providing better information and support to those bereaved or affected by suicide.
One of the recommendations of the panel is asking that the planning authority should receive the details of the action developers will take in terms of suicide prevention e.g. safety fencing.
The panel was informed at a meeting last month that nationally the current rate of deaths by suicide was 8.5 deaths per 100,000 of the population.
This figure was slightly higher in the North-east. The current figure for Middlesbrough was 10.8 per 100,000.
> Hopefully they might ask questions about why people commit sucide – not just how.
It would be interesting to know exactly how many were caused by the actions of the DWP and its staff – sanctions, etc – and, however indirectly, by politicians – bedroom tax, etc.
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 20 Oct 2014