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Last Updated: Friday, 12 September, 2003, 07:42 GMT 08:42 UK
Godiva girls take to streets
Pru Porretta
Pru Porretta, Coventry's official Lady Godiva planned the project
The procession of Lady Godiva returns to the streets of Coventry and this year the legendary naked horsewoman is joined by her "sisters".

The seven Godiva Sisters have been chosen by people from various community groups within the city to symbolise inspirational heroines from their individual cultures.

Lady Godiva will be joined by representatives from the Chinese, Sikh, Irish, African, Christian and Muslim, Ukrainian and refugee communities.

The procession, which takes place on Friday, will call at various points around the city before the Sisters congregate at Coventry Cathedral.

The Godiva Sisters project developed from the work of Pru Porretta, chosen as Coventry's official Lady Godiva in 1982 to promote the history and traditions of Coventry through community participation.

She said: "The Godiva Sisters were chosen by their local communities for the inspiration they have brought to people's lives - influential women who have done something positive and creative for the benefit of others."

Godiva statue
Godiva's name is synonymous with Coventry

The event takes place on the date recognised as "Dame Goodyver's Day", in commemoration of the death of Lady Godiva in 1067.

Peeping Tom

Lady Godiva was the first woman to be mentioned in the Domesday Book and was married to Leofric, the Earl of Mercia and Lord of Coventry.

The legend of her naked ride through the city tells how Lady Godiva was upset with Leofric for crippling the development of Coventry with taxes.

He vowed to reduce the taxes if she rode naked on a horse across the town, thinking she would never do such a thing.

Local people showed their respect by staying indoors and with only her long hair to cover her, Lady Godiva rode through the city.

Only one person looked - the character who gave rise to the term Peeping Tom - and he was struck blind for giving in to temptation.

After her act Leofric fulfilled his promise and reduced the taxes.

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13 Dec 02  |  England
Lady Godiva: The naked truth
24 Aug 01  |  Newsmakers



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