Emily Hobhouse

Emily Hobhouse born 9 April 1860 and died 8 June 1926 she was a welfare campaigner. Emily, like many members of the radical wing of the Liberal Party, was opposed to the Boer War. In October 1900, Emily formed the Relief Fund for South African Women and Children. An organisation set up: “To feed, clothe, harbor and save women and children – Boer, English and other – who were left destitute and ragged as a result of the destruction of property, the eviction of families or other incidents resulting from the military operations”. Except for members of the Society of Friends, very few people were willing to contribute to this fund. Over the next few weeks Emily visited several camps to the south of Bloemfontein, including Norvalspont, Aliwal North, Springfontein, Kimberley and Orange River. She was also allowed to visit Mafeking. Everywhere she directed the attention of the authorities to the inadequate sanitary accommodation and inadequate rations. She became an honorary citizen of South Africa for her humanitarian work there.

Nancy Witcher Astor, Viscountess Astor

Nancy Witcher Astor, Viscountess Astor, born 19 May 1879 and died 2 May 1964 she was the first women to sit in the houses of parliament. Nancy was originally an American but she married a British man Waldorf Astor. Astor’s Parliamentary career was the most public phase of her life, making her an object of both love and hatred. Her presence almost immediately gained attention, both as a woman and as someone who did not follow the rules. On her first day in the House of Commons, she was called to order for chatting with a fellow House member, not realising that she was the person who was causing the commotion. She did try in some ways to minimise disruption by dressing more sedately than usual and by avoiding the bars and smoking rooms frequented by the men. Lady Astor did some significant work outside the political sphere. The most famous was her support for nursery schools. Her involvement with this cause was somewhat surprising because she was introduced to it by a socialist named Margaret McMillan who believed that her dead sister still had a role in guiding her. Lady Astor was initially sceptical, but later the two women became close and Astor used her wealth to aid their social efforts. Despite originally being from America she was the first female to sit as a member of parliament for Plymouth Sutton.

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie was born 15 September 1890 and died 12 January 1976 she was a British crime writer of novels, shorts stories and plays. She also wrote romances under the name Mary Westmacott, but she is best remembered for her 66 detective novels and more than 15 short story collections. During the First World War she served in a hospital before moving to London to settle down. She was unsuccessful at first but The Bodley Head press published her novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles, featuring the character of Poirot, this launched her career. According to the Guinness Book of Records she is the biggest selling novelist of all time, selling around 4 billion copies, she is also the most translated author with her books being translated to 103 different languages. She was made a Dame in 1971. During the Second World War, Christie worked in the pharmacy at University College Hospital, London, where she acquired knowledge of poisons that she put to good use in her post-war crime novels. For example, the use of thallium as a poison which she used in her novel The Pale Horse, published in 1961. Christie is mainly famous for her Miss Marple novels and Poirot, Poirot was that successful he was the first fictional character to be given an obituary in The New York Times. Agatha’s nick name is ‘Queen of Crime’.

Beryl Cook

Beryl Cook is an English artist born 10 September 1926 and died 28 May 2008 best known for her original and instantly recognisable paintings of people enjoying themselves in pubs, girls shopping or out on a hen night. Drag shows or a family picnicking by the seaside or abroad – tan going in Buenos Aires or gambling in Las Vegas. Beryl had no formal training and did not start painting until she was middle aged. She found new material for her work while travelling. Early local scenes expanded those depicting Buenos Aires, New York, Cuba, Paris and Barcelona, Beryl has an almost photogenic memory. Beryl Cook was made an O.B.E. in 1995. In 2005 Channel 4 News presented a short film of Beryl and her work, she was also the featured artist in ‘The Culture Show’ in 2006. Beryl Cook’s paintings have been acquired by Glasgow Museum of Modern Art, Bristol City Art Gallery, Plymouth Art Gallery and Durham Museum. The Baltic, Gateshead had a major Beryl Cook Exhibition in 2007, and a full retrospect exhibition was put on by Plymouth University after her death in November and December 2008. In 2010 several of Beryl Cook’s paintings were loaned to Tate Britain for their exhibition ‘Rude Britannia – British Comic Art’, Bristol City Art Gallery and Museum held a retrospective exhibition in 2011.

Sharron Elizabeth Davies MBE

Sharron Elizabeth Davies MBE was born 1 November 1962 she is a retired swimmer. She learned to swim at the age of six and was training seriously two years later. She set a record by swimming for the British national team at the age of only eleven. She was so determined that she continued her training even after breaking both her wrists in a childhood accident. In 1976, still only thirteen, Davies was selected to represent Great Britain at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. Although her performance was not enough to get her in the medals, it did make her a household name. In her swimming career she has won a total of 9 medals, silver in the 1980 Olympic games, two bronze at the 1977 European Championships, two gold a silver and a bronze at the 1978 Commonwealth Games and finally a silver and a bronze in the 1990 Commonwealth Games. In 2005 Sharron appeared in the BBC program Question Time to raise the profile of bringing the Olympics to London. She is also a patron for Disabled Sport England and the Sports Aid Foundation.

Miranda Katharine Hart Dyke

Miranda Katharine Hart Dyke was born 14 December 1972 she is an actress writer and stand up comedian. Miranda graduated with a 2:1 degree in political science from the University of the West of England, followed by training at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts. She always wanted to be a comedienne. In 2002, she did a solo show in Edinburgh and in 2004 she pitched a comedy show to the BBC. At her read-through for BBC executives, Jennifer Saunders was there, laughing throughout. Miranda has been heavily involved in charity work, In 2010 she and six other TV celebrities raised over £1 million for the charity Sport Relief by cycling from John O’Groats to Land’s End. Miranda also presented part of Sport Relief 2012 which ended in David Walliams dancing semi naked with her to Abba’s Dancing Queen. In 2010 she won the Best Comedy Performance award from the Royal Television Society for her performance in Miranda and was also nominated for best comedy writing. She and Patricia Hodge were both nominated for “Best Comedy Actress” awards at the Monte-Carlo TV Festival 2010. In 2011 she won “Best Comedy Actress” and “PeopleÂ’s Choice Award for the “Queen of Comedy” in the British Comedy Awards 2011, where Miranda also won “Best New British TV Comedy” and was nominated for “Best Sitcom”. The same year, she was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Actress in a comedy role and her hit BBC Two sitcom Miranda was nominated for the BAFTA YouTube choice award, the only award voted for by the public.