Cornwall’s Inspirational Women

International Women's Day

We’re celebrating International Women’s Day by giving a well-deserved shout out to those women who have made Cornwall proud.

Rowena Cade
Rowena Cade’s incredible determination and love of the arts created one of the most spectacular outdoor theatres in use today. After buying the Minack headland for £100 and building a house there for herself and her widowed mother, their house and its garden provided the setting for many amateur theatre performances. When the group wanted to perform ‘The Tempest’ Rowena decided the rugged Minack cliff face would make a more dramatic and convincing back drop. Along with her gardener, Billy Rawlings, Rowena moved granite boulders and tonnes of earth to create The Minack Theatre, then a grass covered stage and seating area. WW2 damaged the theatre considerably, but Rowena worked every winter until she was well in her 80s restoring and bettering her beloved theatre.

Madison Glinski fundraiser
At just 10 years old Madison has been playing her violin around her hometown of St Ives to raise money for charity. Originally setting herself a target of £500, she went on to hand over a check for £52,006 to Little Harbour Hospice. , choosing the charity because she didn’t want children to die without having the chance of a childhood. Madison has since gone on to win Just Giving’s Young Fundraiser of the Year Award.

Emily Hobhouse human rights campaigner
During the Boer War Emily became aware of the suffering of women and children as a consequence of the war, and helped set up a fund to support them. Realising she could help further after the war, she stayed and initiated training for the families in self-supporting occupations. She continued to campaign for human rights through the First World War, managing to raise money to feed starving families for a year after the war ended.

Dolly Pentreath
Although much debated, legend states that Dolly Pentreath of Paul near Mousehole, was the last person to speak Cornish as their first language. She claimed to not have learnt English until she was in her 20s, and her last words were rumoured to be “Me ne vidn cewsel Sawznek!” – “I don’t want to speak English!” There is a monument dedicated to Dolly at Paul Church, and whether you believe she was the last native speaker or not, there is no denying Dolly has become a symbol of Cornish heritage.

Dawn French – comedienne, actor, writer and Chancellor of Falmouth University
We all know and love Dawn French’s work, but last year Cornwall saw Dawn French in a different light. Cornish at heart, and south coast resident, Dawn French was installed as the Chancellor of Falmouth University, where she vowed to “champion the university and everything it represents”.

Helen GloverOlympic Medalist 
Born and raised in Penzance, Helen is one of Cornwall’s biggest sporting heroines. Just four years after picking up the oars for the first time, she went on to win gold at the London 2012 Olympics, making her and her rowing partner, Heather Stanning, the the first British women to win an Olympic Champion title in rowing. There’s a gold painted postbox in honour of her achievement in her hometown. Since the Olympics, Helen has gone on to win three world championships and is currently ranked #1 female rower in the world. We couldn’t be prouder!

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