Rotary Club of Hastings

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TWENTY-seven members and guests attended our recent fortnightly meeting of the Rotary Club of Hastings held at the Bannatynes Spa Hotel, which included an EGM to elect officers for 2013/14.

The Rotary Year runs from July 1 and next year’s president will be local accountant Patrick Langdon, vice president Nick Hollingsworth, secretary Gayle Benet and treasurer Steve Cooper.

Following the EGM Brion Purdey gave a short talk on local ‘suffragette’ Muriel Matters. Muriel, who was from Adelaide South Australia, was, in October 1908, the first woman to speak in the House of Commons, although as Brion explained this was not by invitation, having chained herself to the grating in the Ladies strangers’ gallery.

South Australia was surprisingly far more emancipated than England at that time having had votes for women for the previous four years.

Being the first full-time paid member of the Women’s Freedom League she had the distinction of carrying out the first balloon protest, dropping leaflets as she flew over London.

Muriel lived at 7 Pelham Crescent and later in St Leonards. The very active Muriel Matters Society, based in Adelaide, has a comprehensive website of her life and has apparently put forward proposals to erect a statue in Wellington Square, at its cost, in memory of Muriel.

For more information on the Rotary Club of Hastings visit www.hastingsrotaryweb.org.