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Looking to the past and the future for inspiration

Looking to the past and the future for inspiration

Wednesday 08 March 2023

Looking to the past and the future for inspiration

Wednesday 08 March 2023

Two local organisations have shared information about inspirational women who helped to shape the Guernsey we know today, and those who are helping to shape its future.

Over the past week, Guernsey Museums has been highlighting the lifetime achievements of women who made their names in different ways.

A wealth of information is retained in local archives and museum stores about people who have been influential to others with a number of women among them.


A story of heroism is how Mary Ann Rogers life could be described. 

Having been a stewardess on board the Steamship Stella, which sank off Alderney in 1899 on her maiden voyage, Mary Ann Rogers was described as a "national heroine" for her actions which saved the lives of others. 

She was said to have "calmly fitted women and children with lifejackets and assisted them into the boats". She also gave her own lifebelt away to another woman and refused to take a seat in one of the lifeboats saying that it was full and it would be dangerous for the others if she did.

Miss Roger's died as the ship sank and her last words are reported as having been "Lord, have me".

She was praised by the "champion of women's suffrage" Miss Frances Power Cobbe who called her "one of the most sublime figures in our island history" and she is remembered in a memorial stain glass window in Liverpool Cathedral which is dedicated to "noble women", as well as at the Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice in London.

As the daughter of James - fourth Lord de Saumarez - Marion Saumarez may have had some luxuries not afforded to others during her lifetime, but she was able to claim a personal achievement not open to many young women in the early 1900s when she enrolled at the French art school Académie Julian. By offering both women and men the same art tuition which was almost unheard of at the time, it helped Miss Saumarez hone her talents.

Her notable works include portraits of her sister and a fellow student at the Académie Julian which Guernsey Museums shared with its followers this week.

Another inspirational artist highlighted by the Museums team is Ethel Sophia Cheeswright, who grew up in Guernsey before moving to Sark at 18 years old.

She stayed in Sark until her death in 1977 by which time she had painted many landscapes depicting the island's scenery. Some of her most renowned work was painted while she was in her 80s.


Pictured: Miss Ethel Sophie Cheeswright with some of her Sark landscapes.

Similarly, ahead of International Women's Day, which is today, the group Women in Public Life has been looking to the next generation.

A campaign this week has been highlighting the views of members of the 'Inspirational Women of the Future'.

They were each nominated by members of the public last year in a campaign around IWD that celebrated the achievement these young women have already made and will continue to make.


Pictured: The iconic women of Guernsey's future as nominated by the public last year.

The Women in Public Life group said that "in celebration of International Women's Day tomorrow, we asked the nominees for Guernsey's Iconic Women of the Future what change they'd like to influence," and they've shared the responses to that question on their social media accounts.

These include former Express reporters Poppy Murray and Maisie Foote who have both moved in different directions with their careers.

Outside of her day to day work, Miss Murray is a campaigner for women's safety. She told Women in Public Life that she would like to see a "cultural shift in how we talk about women's safety". She'd also like to see "increased reporting of incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault which will ultimately result in a decline of offences".

Miss Foote works in youth services and education and says she'd "like to help young people in Guernsey to feel more supported and appreciated by the community, rather than being seen as an issue".

 The views of the other Inspirational Women of the Future can be found as


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