Blue plaque fundraiser for pioneering Sheffield environmentalist off to a flying start

The fundraiser for a blue plaque to commemorate the work of pioneering Sheffield environmentalist Ethel Haythornthwaite has received hundreds of pounds in donations since it was launched yesterday.

Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 12:10 pm

The Star has teamed up with the Campaign To Protect Rural England Peak District and South Yorkshire, city MP Olivia Blake MP, the University of Sheffield and city Councillor Anne Murphy to campaign for a plaque to commemorate the woman who helped establish the Peak District National Park.

The plaque will be placed near where she lived and worked on Endcliffe Vale Road.

The target was set at £5,000, with £200 already raised.

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Ethel Haythornthwaite and John Dower on Hobhouse Committee Business mapping the boundary of the proposed National Park in circa 1945.

Writing on behalf of the organisations behind the campaign, Ian Thompson of CPRE, said: “We are raising money to purchase and install a 'blue heritage plaque' in Sheffield to mark the life and work of our founding spirits – the pioneering environmentalists Ethel and Gerald Haythornthwaite. Please support us.”

Ethel Mary Bassett Ward was born in Sheffield in 1894. Following the death of her first husband in the First World War, her family persuaded her to take walks in the countryside around the city for her health.

Mr Thompson said: “Ethel became enamoured by the local countryside. She established a charity in 1924, now known as CPRE Peak District and South Yorkshire, or CPRE PDSY, and dedicated the rest of her life to protecting the local countryside.

“Gerald Haythornthwaite joined the charity in 1936. He and Ethel married in 1937. Together they became a tour de force of environmentalism. The establishment of the first National Park – the Peak District, creating and protecting the Green Belt around Sheffield and campaigning to save the Longshaw Estate are just a few of their major achievements.

“A collective of people and organisations in Sheffield are hoping to mark the achievements of Ethel and Gerald Haythornthwaite by fundraising to purchase and erect a blue heritage plaque close to where the couple worked in Endcliffe.”

Star editor Nancy Fielder added: “Ethel's story is far too inspirational for it not to be widely known and for Sheffield not to celebrate a woman who made such a huge difference, not only in her own lifetime but still to our lives and those who live in and around Sheffield today."

To donate, visit GoFundMe.