Yvonne Marie Blenkinsop on the Queen’s Honours list
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In the beginning of 1968 during the worst winter in living memory and in the space of two weeks, three trawlers from Hull were lost at sea. The St Romanus, Kingston Peridot and Ross Cleveland. From all three ships lost, 58 men were killed and there was only one survivor. This event has become infamous in Hull as 'The Triple Trawler Disaster'. Just after the second trawler was lost, four local women decided to take action against the poor health and safety regulations and working conditions of the men at the time. Most notably, a change in the law to make it essential that every ship has a radio operator, an independent signalling system and regular communication with the mainland. All this had not been essential in the fishing industry up until then. Those four women were Yvonne Marie Blenkinsop (the smiling lady in the photo), Lillian Bilocca, Mary Denness and Christine Jensen. They started with a petition which grew to over ten thousand signatures in just two days and two meetings at the Victoria Hall on Hull's Hessle Road which was packed with hundreds of fishermens wives and families and members of the press. The day after the loss of the third trawler, with the help of John Prescott and the massive media coverage this disaster was getting, they took their campaign to Westminster and met the minister for agriculture and fisheries and over night those four local lasses who have become legends in Hull forever. They turned an industry on its head and made changes which have saved countless lives and still do to this day. They became known as the Headscarf Revolutionaries. Their story has been told on the stage, in books (most notably 'The Headscarf Revolutionaries' by Dr Brian Lavery), and a BBC4 documentary ‘Hull’s Headscarf Heroes’. The whole world will soon know the story of these remarkable ladies. Sadly Lil, Mary and Christine are no longer with us but I know that Yvonne will honoured when she stands on the grand stage once more, not to campaign but to take the applause and recieve the recognition she so rightly deserve for her and on behalf of her comrades on the Queens Honours List and it's only right that it should happen on the 50th anniversary of the Triple Trawler Disaster. Please take a look at my Facebook page 'Headscarf Pride’.
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