Lady Godivas to help launch Coventry UK City of Culture 2021

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image copyrightGetty Images
image captionA statue of Lady Godiva stands in Coventry

Fourteen modern-day Lady Godivas are learning to ride horses so they can take part in an event to launch Coventry's UK City of Culture year.

The Godivas, chosen to represent women of the city, include musician Christine 'Sugary' Staple and Pru Porretta, who has played Godiva at events since 1982.

Coventry Moves, which takes place on 5 June, is billed as a dawn to dusk performance.

The Godivas exact roles will be revealed on the day.

image copyrightCoventry City of Culture Trust
image captionThe part the 14 women will play has not yet been revealed

Godiva, who died on 10 September 1067, was married to Leofric, the Earl of Mercia and Lord of Coventry.

Together they founded the Benedictine Priory and later the Cathedral of St Mary.

According to legend, Leofric became so exasperated by Godiva's endless appeals to reduce taxes in Coventry, he declared he would do so if she rode naked through the crowded marketplace.

image copyrightCoventry City of Culture Trust
image captionThe Coventry Moves event will take place online on 5 June

The 14 women chosen to represent her have been selected for their "unique stories", the Coventry City of Culture Trust said.

Many of the women are learning to ride a horse for the first time as part of filmed contributions, the trust said.

As well as Ms Staple, who has been writing, producing and performing in film, video and music since her teens and is the manager of her husband Neville Staple of The Specials, and Ms Poretta, who has been involved in charitable causes in Coventry for nearly 40 years, the women taking part include:

  • Felicity Alsop, a young woman who has autism and cares for her mother.
  • Alethea Balbuena, director of operations of Coventry and Warwickshire Mind.
  • Kirsty Brewerton, a clinical sister with the NHS.
  • Surinder Dhillon, who founded Ekta-Unity which works to improve the wellbeing of the Asian community.
  • Christine Eade, who manages The Pod, Coventry City Council's mental health social brokerage and cultural hub.
  • Isabelle Edgar-McCabe, founded baby bank Baby Godiva in 2019.
  • Reena Jaisiah, the 2016 recipient of Coventry City Council's Good Citizen Award.
  • Last Mafuba, founder of charity Inini Initiative, that provides mental health services to people of colour.
  • Caitlin McCarthy, a 16-year-old singer songwriter.
  • Jess McLish, who launched Coventry Rocks, a website for families to find local baby and toddler groups, events, attractions and activities.
  • Loraine Mponela, a community campaigner.
  • Laura Nyahuye, founder of social enterprise Maokwo.

Chenine Bhathena, creative director of the trust, said: "Lady Godiva embodies so much of Coventry's spirit and history and our 14 Godivas are wonderful examples of the amazing women that continue to help shape the city we live in.

"Coventry Moves will be the signature event that really kick starts our year.

"Everyone is invited to enjoy the show from the comfort of your own home."

The festival officially begins on 15 May.

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