Young Volunteers Thanked by the Mayor

On Monday 25 March 2024 the Mayor of Brighton & Hove Cllr Jackie O’Quinn, hosted a Reception at Brighton Town Hall for the young volunteers of the Mary Clarke Statue Appeal.

Young volunteers of the Mary Clarke Statue Appeal with their certificates awarded by the Mayor

This was arranged by the Mayor with the Appeal trustees, who wanted to thank the girls for their support. None of the girls were  able to attend on 12 December when Mary Clarke was posthumously awarded the Freedom of the City of Brighton & Hove.

Seven young volunteers from Balfour Primary School and two from Brighton College were addressed by the Mayor in the historic Brighton Council Chamber, along with family members and teachers, who included the Head and Deputy head of Balfour Primary School. The Mayor, wearing her Robes and Chains of Office, thanked the girls for their work on behalf of the city, while Jean Calder, Chair of the Appeal, added her appreciation on behalf of the trustees.

On behalf of the Appeal, the Mayor then awarded a certificate to each of the young volunteers.

Mayor Cllr Jackie O’Quinn

The Mayor then gave an inspiring presentation about civic life, explaining what she does as councillor and Mayor and also encouraging the girls to think about civic leadership. The Mayor’s Mace Bearer, bodyguard and driver Robbie Robertson then delivered a fascinating talk about the historic chamber itself, explaining the symbolism of the decoration and design, both of the council chamber and the historic gold mace, which he allowed each girl to hold.

He highlighted the names of significant Mayors, such as Dorthy Stringer, realising that, later this year, many of the girls will be moving to the local school that bears her name. Robbie also highlighted the name of Mayor Stanford who was in post at the time Mary Clarke died in 1910.

The girls, their parents and teachers and the trustees and patrons of the Mary Clarke Statue Appeal were then invited to  tea and cakes in the Mayor’s Parlour.

Our young volunteers were warmly praised by both the Mayor and Jean Calder for the educational work they had undertaken and their fundraising activities. Also for their ability to make links between Mary’s work for equality and the circumstances of their own lives and those of other  – for example, by challenging attitudes to girls’ sport in their own schools, asking questions of the City Council about women’s rights and highlighting discrimination against girls in Afghanistan.

The audience heard about the “Mary’s Lamp” girls’ group at

Girls of the Mary’s Lamp group

Balfour Primary School, set up by then 9 year old River Isaac (the Statue Appeal’s first Child Ambassador). The group   prepared power point presentations about Mary Clarke for school assemblies; organised cake sales and games on school stalls;  leafleted; sold orange ribbons in November for the U.N. 16 Days Against Violence Against Women and Girls and made substantial donations to the Statue Appeal as well as additional donations to the Malala Fund UK, all supported by the school and Appeal trustees.

Young Ambassadors Sophia and Izzie Kilburn

The audience also heard about Sophia and Isabel Kilburn from Brighton College (also Young Ambassadors for the Appeal) who fundraised so successfully for a blue plaque in Brighton for pioneering woman lawyer Helena Normanton, that they were able to make a substantial donation to the Mary Clarke Appeal from what was left over. The girls also encouraged family and friends to make donations to the Appeal instead of birthday presents. They are currently campaigning to erect another plaque in Brighton, this time to pioneering woman doctor Sophia Jex-Blake.

The Mary Clarke Statue Appeal expressed its grateful thanks

The Mayor with Balfour School children and senior staff members

to all the girls and encouraged them to stay involved in the campaign. It also expressed heart felt thanks to parents and teachers from Balfour School who have supported the girls.


Mary Clarke Statue Appeal