MEMORIES of brave suffragettes who campaigned and won the right for women to vote were rekindled 100 years on by females from south Essex who now benefit from those rights.

Groups from south Essex joined hundreds of others as thousands of women took part in Procession.

Using artwork and banners women took to the streets to mark the progress made during the past 100 years and, for some, remind people of the distance still to go.

The banners, designed to recognise remarkable women from the past century, were painted, sewed and stitched by groups including Southend arts organisation Metal and Kinetika, based at High House Production Park in Purfleet.

Southend based author Syd Moore, from Metal, took part in the workshops and the march.

She said: “The march was just brilliant. It was fantastic to be among so many different types of person, from schoolgirls who had never taken part in a march before to women in their eighties or nineties.

“Being among that feeling of female solidarity was really liberating, there was a lot of dancing, making noise, and a real sense of commemoration for what the women who came before us achieved as suffragettes.”

Syd also runs activist group Essex Girls Liberation Front with three other leading women from south Essex.

Their banners aimed at disrupting negative female stereotypes.

She said: “We were really inspired by the idea of ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ - there are so many really remarkable women that have come from the county that we should be proud of.

“These women have not just smashed the stereotype of the Essex girl, they have completely obliterated it.

“We decided on the Sgt Pepper look for the banner as it felt right not only to represent as many of these remarkable women from our history as possible, but also to have them mixed in with contemporary women who are making their voices heard now, because we wouldn’t be where we are without the women who came before us.”

Five different groups of Silk River artists, based around the Thames Estuary created banners as part of Kinetika’s contribution.

Artistic director and designer at Kinetika, Ali Pretty, said: “It was fantastic to be a part of the march - to walk in solidarity with so many women from all different walks of life was really humbling.

“It was also a chance for women who had never been involved in any kind of march or mass artwork to take part, which can be an incredibly empowering experience.

“There were some fantastic stories, one of the ladies from Southend who had taken part in our workshops even mentioned it to her hairdresser who ended up coming along to her first ever march.

“It’s little stories like that which really are magical, and show how much can be achieved when people come together for such an important anniversary.

“We have set the foundations of a community that has formed really strong links around the legacy of extraordinary people.”