A campaign to erect a new statue in Dorset's county town as a tribute to the area's forgotten women has progressed with a final shortlist of nominations announced.

The Sheroes campaign for Dorchester is run as a community project in conjunction with local schools, clubs and societies along with support of the Dorchester Joint Heritage Committee.

The committee investigated 46 unsung Dorset women and revealed the candidates for a new statue in conjunction with International Women’s Day.

Dorset Button Makers, who were at their peak between 1622 and 1850, have been shortlisted for the impact they made in Wool, Bere Regis and Piddletrenthide among other communities. The means of button making allowed for financial independence, as women were still able to carry on with household duties and generate extra income for their families. 

Aileen Chevallier Preston, who lived between 1889 and 1974 also makes the final six. She was known as the first woman to have a Royal Automobile Certificate and became first ‘lady chauffeuse’ to Emily Pankhurst, a leading figure in the suffragette movement. She was also an acclaimed motoring journalist and lived near Dorchester.

Dorset Echo: Writer Sylvia Townsend Warner, above, makes the shortlist. The writer, whose greatest works include Lolly Willowes, stood out in the early twentieth century for her role in LGBTQ+ representation. Although not born in Dorset, the author and poet fell in love with the county when she visited Chaldon Herring and the surrounding area in the 1920s. 

Ann Keates, also known as Ann Winzer, lived in Fordington during the nineteenth century. She was a nurse during the 1815 Battle of Waterloo, tending to wounds on the battlefield. Her grave and memorial is found in St Mary’s Church in Piddlehinton.

Mary Mullet Moule is also among the candidates for a new statue in the town. Mary, who alongside her husband, Henry Moule, helped bring a school to the town and tackle the cholera outbreaks of 1849 and 1854 in Fordington. 

Sarah Eldridge, one of the founders of the Eldridge Pope and Co. brewery that now forms what is Brewery Square is the final name on the shortlist. She opened the brewery in 1837 and helped establish the county town’s first hospital.

If you would like to follow the research of Dorchester Sheroes visit https://www.facebook.com/DorchesterSheroes and to vote on the candidate visit https://b7uradl86zq.typeform.com/to/q579lNMk?fbclid=IwAR1Um21k0VwFHsoWkVMa0ddd2DyFqB_s-Plt84uAR_fO0YpZkBxFIsFLXM0&typeform-source=l.facebook.com