Epsom Council voted Thursday evening to approve funding for a statue of suffragette icon Emily Davison.

The Emily Davison Memorial Project was formed at the beginning of 2018 (the centenary of women first gaining the vote in the UK) with the aim to install a life-size statue of Emily Davison sitting on a granite bench in Epsom Market Place.

The council's Strategy and Resources Committee voted on Thursday (January 31) to help fund the project.

Councillor Eber Kington, Chairman of the Council’s Strategy and Resources Committee, said: "The artwork will be an important monument in our town centre, referencing a key moment in Epsom's history. I think it's a piece that will engage the community and it will add to a number of statues of suffragettes installed nationally in the past few years."

The Councillor added that the decision was taken for the council to approve partial funding for the statue after larger donations proved difficult to secure.

Cllr Kington said: "Despite a very active and positive funding campaign and widespread support, the Emily Davison Memorial Project has experienced difficulties in securing high level donations. At committee, it was agreed to use developer funding money, which can only be used for environmental improvements in the area in and around the town centre, to support the fund with a donation of up to £20,000, enabling the Emily Davison Memorial Project to unlock additional larger funding contributions to the project."

Emily Davison was a leading suffragette campaigner for women's right to vote during the early twentieth century and is considered by many in the UK and around the world as a martyr for the cause of female emancipation.

During the campaign for women's suffrage in Britain, Davison was force fed 49 times, and later wore a hunger strike medal with seven bars: one for each time she went on hunger strike.

She died on June 4, 1913, after being trampled by King George V's horse at Epsom Downs race course. The latest historical research suggests Davison was attempting to tie a scarf to the horse's bridle in protest for women's suffrage.

The Emily Davison Memorial Project continue in their fund raising drive, with the aim of securing the £50,000 required.

Sarah Dewing, Chair of the Emily Davison Memorial Project said: "It is time that Emily Davison is properly recognised for the part she played in securing women's right to vote. It is due to her sacrifice and that of many others that women today have equal rights in law and opportunities to fulfil their potential that Emily's generation could only dream of."

Public donations to the Emily Davison Memorial Project can be made via www.emilydavisonproject.org