Wymondham town tour honours public life pioneer Ethel Gooch

Georgette Vale, left, played the role of Ethel Gooch, Wymondham's first woman councillor and the fir

Georgette Vale, left, played the role of Ethel Gooch, Wymondham's first woman councillor and the first to chair Wymondhams Urban District Council, for a historical walking tour of the town. members of the Norfolk Women Against State Pension Age Inequality (Waspi) group joined the tour. Picture: Courtesy of Annette James - Credit: Archant

She was a pioneer for women in public life in Norfolk: Wymondham's first woman councillor and the first to chair the town's urban district council.

And now Ethel Gooch, who lived 1887-1953 and is known as Wymondham's 'first lady', has been remembered with a historical tour around the town centre.

History buff Georgette Vale, from Wymondham, led the tour, dressing as Mrs Gooch for the occasion. Among the group were members of the group Pension Action in Norfolk, which is running a Women Against State Pension Age Inequality (Waspi) campaign for women's pension equality.

Mrs Vale said: 'Ethel fought alongside her husband for workers' rights and, if she were alive today, I feel sure she would be a Waspi woman.'

With the help of photographs, Mrs Vale explained - in character as Mrs Gooch - the changes that took place in the town throughout her lifetime.


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About the Waspi campaign

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Annette James, Waspi campaigner, said: 'Many of us have had no, or just 18 months, notice of up to a six year rise in our retirement ages - leaving us no time to plan financially. We have members experiencing severe hardship as a result.

'We are asking for fair transitional arrangements in the form of a bridging pension between our original and new retirement ages.

'We are a generation bearing the brunt of unfair and badly communicated changes made by successive governments'.

To find out more about Waspi Norfolk visit www.waspi.co.uk/norfolk-waspi-group-pain.

A new e-petition launched on September 13 calling for a parliamentary debate on the issue has already garnered more than half the 100,000 signatures required. To sign it petition.parliament.uk/petitions/200088

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