BCA are working in partnership with the Women of Bedford group (WOB) on an exciting project to include women in the public artworks around the town, in recognition of the significant contribution they have made locally, in politics, the arts, business, education, health, social care and science.
Our primary aim is to commission a statue of Amy Walmsley, one of Bedford’s most historically significant women for Bedford’s town centre as there are currently no statues of women in Bedford.
International sculptor Diane Gorvin has been invited to design the statue of Amy and has already created a maquette (model – see below) of the statue which will eventually be cast in bronze bringing Amy Walmsley to life.
About the Women of Bedford
The WOB group is a local voluntary, not for profit group established to “identify and celebrate the impact women have on the heritage of the borough of Bedford and to inform and inspire future generations”.The group are professional women based in Bedford with a passion for transformative community projects celebrating Bedford as a town and the women that have contributed and are chaired by local entrepreneur Rachael Rogan.
The WOB are fundraising to deliver this project and highlight the role women have played across Bedford and the wider communities. They have received substantial support so far from Bedford Borough Council, Bedford College, Bedford Heights, local businesses and individuals through their crowd funding and still have a considerable fundraising task ahead.
BCA have previously collaborated with the WOB on the Processions project in 2018 in a once in a lifetime mass participation artwork which celebrated one hundred years of votes for women.
Why Amy Walmsley?
Amy Walmsley (1868-1928) was chosen as she was one of the town’s most passionate advocates of women’s equality head of the local school, a business leader, educationalist, suffragette and politician.Amy Walmsley trained at the Croydon Kindergarten College and was experienced in educating children as well as in the training of teachers.
In 1899 she leased a property where she could provide properly supervised accommodation for women who wanted to train as teachers. She then visited America to see the work of educational reformer John Dewey which strengthened her motivation. When Amy Walmsley retired in 1927 the number of trainee teachers had increased fourfold and the number of kindergarten children doubled.
Amy Walmsley was the first female councillor in Bedford and was very involved with the First World War work in the town. She was joint honorary secretary of the Bedford Borough Recreation Committee for the troops and she and her students served refreshments and organised entertainment at the Corn Exchange which was opened as a canteen and recreation room.
We hope the sculpture will reflect the past and inspire the future for equality within communities.
How can you help?
So far, the WOB have raised £15,000 with the help of local businesses and individuals but our target is £120,000 to realise a bronze statue and have it erected in the town.
If you are able to make a donation or get involved in our campaigning and fundraising activities we would like to hear from you. Feel free to contact our Programme Producer, Ami Aubrey (email@example.com) or you can click here to make a donation by Paypal today.
BCA are thrilled to be part of this project and looking forward to supporting the statute campaign and WOB in this significant project.
Thank you to all our supporters: Bedford College,Gale Family Trust,Bedford Borough Council, Bedford Heights, All our individual and private donors