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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 September 2007, 09:52 GMT 10:52 UK
Campaigner's tomb appeal launched
Lesley Abdela at Barbara Bodichon's grave
Lesley Abdela at Barbara Bodichon's grave in Brightling
An appeal has been launched to restore the East Sussex tomb of a pioneering activist for women's rights.

Barbara Bodichon, who led the campaign for married women's property rights and was one of the first suffragettes, is buried in Brightling churchyard.

Since her death in 1891, the grave has fallen into disrepair and it is estimated 1,000 is needed for repairs.

The village fundraising effort is being led by Irene Baker, wife of Rector Stuart Baker.

Co-founded college

Barbara Bodichon was born in 1827 near Battle, the daughter of MP Benjamin Leigh Smith.

She lived in and around the Hastings area all her life but also became friendly with Victorian feminist campaigners in London such as Elizabeth Garrett Anderson.

She battled for many years for the legal right for married and divorced women to keep their own property and co-founded Girton, the first women's college in Cambridge.

"What she did affected the lives of every woman," said women's campaigner Lesley Abdela.

"The right to inherit property and the right to hang on to your own income all started from her vision and her commitment to her work."




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Barbara Bodichon fought for women's rights in the 1850s



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