7Dame Judi Dench – Heworth, near York
Dame Judi Dench is a Northern legend. Born in Heworth, near York in 1934, Dench made her professional acting debut in 1957. She’s performed in several of Shakespeare’s plays and is well known for playing ‘Queen Elizabeth’ in the film, Shakespeare in Love. She is also well known for the James Bond movies.
Dench works for a number of charities including the Roy Castle Lung Foundation. She’s also been critical of prejudice in the movie industry against older actresses.
6Selina Cooper and Emmeline Pankhurst – Nelson & Manchester
Two of our most inspirational women were local suffragettes, Selina Cooper and Emily Pankhurst. Selina Cooper was a suffragette and the first woman to represent the Independent Labour Party in 1901 when she was elected as a Poor Law Guardian. During the First World War, Cooper moved to Nelson and developed the first ever maternity centre in the town. Emily Pankhurst was the leader of the Suffragette movement and was born in Moss Side, Manchester. She founded the Women’s Social and Political Union and initiated a number of political interventions.
5Sally Wainwright – Huddersfield
A proper Yorkshire lass, Sally Wainwright is one our favourite Northern ladies. A writer, director and producer, Sally is best known for writing nitty, gritty female-led, Northern dramas such as The Last Tango in Halifax and Happy Valley.
4Jessica Ennis-Hill – Sheffield
Jessica Ennis-Hill is one of our most celebrated Olympians. She won Gold at London 2012 in the Heptathlon and is a three time world champion. A working mum, Jessica now focuses on charity work and writing columns.
3Helen Sharman – Grenoside, Sheffield
What did you want to be when you grew up? An astronaut? So did Helen Sharman and she didn’t let being a girl get in her way! The British chemist became the first Briton in space and the first woman to visit the Space Station in 1991. The ultimate role model for young girls who love science everywhere!
2Emily Brontë – Haworth
It was hard to pick just one Brontë sister to add to our list but given it’s her birthday, we decided to give the honour to Emily who’s celebrating 200 years! Whilst we’re sure she needs no introduction, Emily was an author best known for writing Wuthering Heights. Emily’s work is now considered a literary classic and is studied in schools worldwide.
1Heather Small – an honoury Wiganer!
Although she was born in London, Heather Small lived in Wigan for many years and in our recent interview with her explained how she very much feels like an honoury Northerner. The infamous singer who headed M People before embarking on a solo career is maybe best known for her anthem Proud which she admits was very much a record for her and about being a woman… look out for our exclusive interview with Heather in the next issue of Northern Life!