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Appeal to find Halewood Women who changed course of history

June 2017 will mark 50 years since women sewing machinists at Ford’s plant in Dagenham walked out in a row over equal pay.

The strike is now regarded as a watershed moment in the fight for equality and the role played by the women in Dagenham has been told on stage and on screen.

However, the role of ladies working at Ford’s plant in Halewood, who downed tools in solidarity with their southern colleagues, is a part of the story that has largely been forgotten.

The strike, which started because of the pay grading system used by Ford at the time, eventually resulted in production grinding to a halt as the supply of covers for car seats ran out.

It was only due to the intervention of Barbara Castle, Secretary of State for Employment, that a resolution to the dispute was found, but by that point, momentum was on the side of the women workers, and it was just two years later that the Equal Pay Act (1970) was passed by Parliament.

As we approach 50 years since this historic event took place, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram is trying to track down some of the women who were involved in the walk out at Halewood, and invite them to a commemoration event that is being organised in conjunction with Dagenham Council.

While the women of Dagenham are now famous in their own right, due to the success of the film Made in Dagenham, the Halewood ladies have proven more difficult to track down.

Attempts by Unite the Union to find them some years ago were not fruitful. It is clear that, although the women worked at Halewood in the 1960s, they could now be living anywhere in the city region or further afield.

Speaking about the upcoming anniversary, Steve Rotheram said: “The women who worked at Halewood in 1968, and walked out in solidarity with their colleagues from Dagenham, played an instrumental role in the fight for equality.

“The car industry at that time was very much a man’s world, but the women were not intimidated – and were relentless in their demand equal pay.

“Without the stand they took, we would not have had the Equal Pay Act.

“They are an inspiration to young women here in our city region and throughout the country.

“It would be great if we could find some of them and give them the recognition they deserve.”

If people wish to get in touch with information, they can contact: 0151 330 1467 or info@liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk

Southport falls silent to honour Victoria Cross hero

A Special commemorative paving stone has been laid in Southport to recognise war hero Private Richard George Masters VC.

The laying of the commemorative stone is the latest of five permanent tributes to former residents across Sefton who received the Victoria Cross during the First World War.

Members of Private Masters’ family joined the Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside and Mayor of Sefton, Cllr Dave Robinson, to unveil the VC Commemorative Flagstone as part of special service held at the War Memorial, Lord Street, Southport on Saturday April 21.

Prior to the service, 238 Sefton Squadron RLC paraded from Nevill Street to the Monument in tribute to him.

Mayor of Sefton, Cllr Dave Robinson, said: “It was an honour and a privilege to pay tribute to a true Sefton hero.

“Private Masters did what nobody else thought ever possible and his actions on the battlefields of France saved hundreds of lives in just a day.

“So many men from across the borough fought in the Great War and this is just the latest in a number of events taking place across Sefton to remember their sacrifices.”

Private Richard George Masters was a 41-year-old Ambulance driver stationed near Bethune, France in 1918 when an enemy attack left his fellow soldiers cut off and facing certain death.

Although thought impassable, Private Masters single-handedly drove his ambulance across the battlefield, through a barrage of heavy fire and bombing, in a bid to rescue the wounded.

He made journey after journey throughout the afternoon. When the gunfire stopped and the dust settled, Private Masters had rescued nearly 200 men.

His heroics did not go unnoticed and Private Masters was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Tails start wagging with interactive Good Dog Code posters

Tails will be wagging with the launch of a brand new smartphone campaign from Sefton Council Good Dogs Code.

The Sefton Good Dog Code has launched a series of QR codes which will be displayed across parks, beaches and main roads in Sefton to encourage good and responsible dog ownership in the borough.

The interactive smartphone adverts are simple to use. After taking a photo of the code on a phone camera, users are directed to the Sefton Good Dog Code website which details how dog owners can encourage others to be responsible for their pets.

Local residents and dog lovers have worked alongside Sefton in the creation of the Code, which tells residents to clean up after their pets, respect those who don’t like dogs, follow the rules and ensure their dog is socialized before it mingles with other dogs.

Steve Smith, Sefton Council’s Environmental Health & Trading Standards Manager said: “The code was jointly put together by ourselves and residents to promote responsible dog ownership.

“Along with the poster and flyers, we’ll now be placing QR codes around our parks, coastal areas and cemeteries which links to the online version of the Good Dog Code.

“There are plenty of ways you can be a responsible dog owner, from making sure you clean up after your pets to respecting none-dog lovers.

“Unfortunately some dog owners are not responsible and have no regard for their community. For these few, legislation is tough on them.

“Enforcement action such as fixed penalties and possible court action can be taken against these dog owners.”

Lyn Hilton the founder of local volunteer group ‘Sefton Dogs’ added: “What began as a campaign to ensure that our dogs could enjoy off lead experience at the beach and on our local nature reserves changed into a volunteer movement which aims for a friendly, informed and responsible approach to dog ownership in Sefton.”

Since July 2017, Sefton has had a Public Space Protection Order across the borough with informs dog owners about certain rules which must be followed.

For more information about these rules and to learn more about the Good Dog Code, visit www.sefton.gov.uk/thegooddogcode.

Saddle up and gallop into Sefton after the Grand National

Visitors to the Aintree Grand National Festival should bet on an odds-on favourite and enjoy all that beautiful Sefton has to offer!

Once the racing has ended for the day, thousands of festival-goers are set to saddle up and check out the mane attractions throughout the borough.

A spokesman for Sefton Council said: “Hear it from the horses’ mouth! Sefton is the place to be during the Aintree Festival weekend and we encourage all race-goers to explore our wonderful borough.

“From 22 miles of golden sands, the beauty of Formby’s National Trust pinewoods and the iconic Iron Men in Crosby, Sefton has it all.

“Visit Ainsdale and Birkdale beach to see the shores where Grand National hero Red Rum honed his skills then relax along Southport’s Lord Street shopping boulevard and the resort’s fine bars and restaurants.

“Take in the fascinating Vikings Legends exhibition at the Atkinson before a canter through Formby woods and dinner on Waterloo’s South Road to sample foods of the world.

“Finish off with a photo or two of our incredible Another Place – 100 spectacular cast-iron, life-size figures by Anthony Gormley spread across three miles of the foreshore and stretching almost one kilometre out to sea.

“Sefton is definitely the odds-on winner for a great day out.”

For more suggestions and ideas on where to visit and what to see in Sefton, visit the council’s instagram @sefton_council.

Appeal to find information on Sefton’s World War One heroines

Sefton’s Library Service are appealing for help to find information on nine local heroines of World War One.

As part of the Beyond The War Memorials Project, Sefton Libraries are creating a special tribute to the men and women who are honoured on war memorials across the borough.

Now the team behind the project are appealing to local historians, families and the wider community to find out more about the heroines who gave their lives for their country.

Andrew Farthing, Sefton Council’s Libraries Development Manager, said: “There are a number of women listed on Sefton’s civic war memorials but very little is known about them.

We want to highlight these brave ladies who gave their lives during World War One for the freedom from oppression that we enjoy today.

Throughout the Beyond The War Memorials project we’ve been compiling information and photos on our heroes and heroines but we need the public’s help in delving deeper into their background. Information and particularly photographs of these women have proved difficult to locate.

The information will go towards creating a massive online biography for most, if not all, the heroic Sefton residents who are listed on our Civic War Memorials.”

Anyone with any information about Sefton heroines of World War One is asked to email Lesley.davies@sefton.gov.uk or call 0151 934 4920.

The nine women found listed so far on Sefton’s Civic War Memorials are:

Southport
Munitions worker Mary Jane Gartside-Tipping joined the Women’s Emergency Canteens Service in 1917 and served on the Western Front. Four months into her service she was shot in the head and killed by a deranged French soldier. She was posthumously awarded the Croix De Guerre and buried with full military honours. 

Sister Janet Lois Griffiths volunteered for active service at the outbreak of WW1 and served in Alexandria, Egypt. She narrowly avoided being killed when a medical lorry she was travelling in collided with a train. Sadly during the rescue operation to save her fellow nurses, Janet was killed.

Ainsdale
Delamere Road resident Stella Rose Boue-Blandy (1896-1919). At the outbreak of war, Stella joined Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Nursing Service, serving in France, Egypt, and Palestine.

Seaforth & Waterloo
Stewardess Agnes B Hird of Woodland Road, Seaforth left behind two sons when, at the age of 40, she was presumed lost at sea with her ship, the SS Ava, having been sunk by Axis forces.

Waterloo resident Elizabeth Kennedy and Seaforth’s Florence Jones are also listed on the Waterloo memorial, however little is known about either heroine.

Bootle
Nurse May Wylie died at the age of 20 at a Military Hospital after serving faithfully with the Queen Mary Army Auxiliary Corps. She was given a military gun-carriage funeral at Anfield Cemetery.

Stewardesses Eleanor Dodwell and Christina Campbell-Rennie both served on the ill-fated RMS Lusitania which was sunk by a German U-boat in 1915. Both their names are also inscribed on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.

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