New book to celebrate Hartlepool women's contribution to town's rich history

A local author is paying tribute to the women of Hartlepool in a new book.

Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 4:45 am

John Riddle, who has written more than 20 books, is currently hard at work on Women of Hartlepool which is due to be out in time for Christmas.

Fascinating stories of women from the town from war heroes and entertainers to sports women and Hartlepool’s new MP will feature in it.

The book is a spin off from John’s first book Hartlepool People, published in 2008, in which the majority of subjects were men.

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Entertainer Gina Pontoni, champion boxer Savannah Marshall and new MP Jill Mortimer will feature in the new book Women of Hartlepool.
Entertainer Gina Pontoni, champion boxer Savannah Marshall and new MP Jill Mortimer will feature in the new book Women of Hartlepool.

“I am now righting that wrong,” he explained. “Initially only a handful of women made the first book but this new publication will feature as many females as possible.

"It includes the war hero Dorothy Robson, entertainers Marion Keane, Gina Pontoni and the weather girl Wincey Willis.”

Covering the time period from pre-war to the present day it is due to be around 300 pages long.

Dorothy Robson, known as Bomb Sight Bertha, carried out top secret work during the Second World War developing more accurate sights used by bomber planes.

Author John Riddle with copies of his two of his earlier books. Picture by FRANK REID

From the world of sport, chapters will also be devoted to current WBO middleweight boxing champion Savannah Marshall and England international footballer Jordan Nobbs.

Also included is Julia Gray McMordie, daughter of Hartlepool ship builder Sir William Gray, who became the first woman member of Belfast City Council in 1917.

And newly elected MP for Hartlepool Jill Mortimer, who earlier this month became the town’s first ever female and Conservative member of parliament will also feature.

John, 73, who this month was elected as a new borough councillor for the town’s Hart ward, has approached Mrs Mortimer to write the foreword for the book.

Hartlepool boxing champion Savannah Marshall will feature in the new book.

He added: "I think this is the 22nd book that I have written. I enjoy writing and as long as people keep buying them I will keep writing.

“As with all my books the profits will be donated to a local charity and on this occasion appropriately the women’s refuge.

“Women of Hartlepool, is a book about the women who have in their own way, enriched our town and become part of its rich tapestry."

The book will be priced at under £9.99.

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