It was great to drop in on the extraordinary Rosemary Rigby MBE recently, both to catch up with her and to see the new extension she has built to her Violette Szabo Museum in Tump Lane.
The Museum, which opened more than two decades ago, is located in Wormelow, directly between Hereford and Ross, a place where Violette Szabo, SOE agent, recipient of the George Cross and an astonishing Second World War heroine, spent happy childhood holidays with her family.
Here, Rosemary dedicates her time to celebrating and educating others about the life of Violette through the Museum, and the amazing array of memorabilia and historical items that she has assembled.
The new extension has been done beautifully, and the Museum is now filled with still more items on the life and times of Violette Szabo. And it comes just in time since, notwithstanding a Covid delay last year, the Museum will be celebrating a special occasion, the 100th anniversary of Violette’s birth, in July.
Both the Museum and the anniversary are well worth a visit. Visitors can also do the Violette Szabo GC Trail, where participants will walk a six mile route through amazing countryside before finishing at the Museum. Full details are on http://violetteszabomuseum.org.uk
But there is another notable celebration of women in the county this month. A life-sized figure of a woman in Lego, named "Hope", will visit Hereford, to honour the suffragette movement and the sacrifices made in the cause of female emancipation.
It is easy to forget that women only won the right to vote in this country in 1918, after prolonged and sometimes dangerous campaigning. The statue, which is made out of more than 30,000 Lego bricks, was built in 2018 by the Lego group, with input and support from Parliament, a century after that historic moment.
The Courtyard is the first venue in Herefordshire that Hope is visiting during her tour of the country.
As with the heroines of the war, it important for us all to remember and learn from the inspirational women who fought so fearlessly for their right to vote. So I would warmly encourage readers to see the Violette Szabo Museum, and head over to see Hope before she moves on to the rest of her tour.
Hope will be at The Courtyard between 9th May and 23rd May. The weblink https://www.courtyard.org.uk/events/hope-the-lego-suffragette/ has more on the background and history.
First published in the Hereford Times and Ross Gazette