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Dame Ethel Immortalised

11 Mar 2022

Unveiled on International Women's Day this statue of composer, writer, suffragette, and sportswoman, Dame Ethel Smythe, depicting her in conducting pose with baton raised, was unveiled in the center of Woking. Dame Ethel was famed throughout her life for being the first female composer to receive a Damehood for services to music. She was an active suffragette and had been imprisoned for breaking a window as part of a suffragette protest. She was also an early LGBTQ+ figure, who lived in Hook Heath, Woking, from 1910 until her death in 1944. 

Sculptor Christine Charelsworth said: "She was a very confident woman, a very clever woman, very full of energy, and didn't suffer fools gladly, apparently!" Councillor Liam Lyons, the mayor of Woking ( a music graduate and an admirer of the suffragettes ) said he was proud to welcome the statue to the town centre. Christine Charlesworth the sculptor also recently unveiled statues of Emily Davison in Epsom town centre and Greta Thunberg at the University of Winchester.  she said it was very exciting to see the statue of Dame Ethel up after so many Covid-related delays.  "I made her in the same studio that I did Emily Wilding Davison. I had 40 buckets of clay. I had to do Emily first, then the clay had to go back into the bucket and then I could start on Smyth.