This is why hundreds of purple ribbons have appeared in Hartlepool
They have become a familiar sight almost anywhere you go in Hartlepool over recent weeks but what do they mean?
Hundreds of purple ribbons have been attached to railings outside shops, businesses and in the street all over the town.
The answer is they have been put there by the Hartlepool branch of WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) to help raise awareness of their campaign.
WASPI represents and supports more than 3.8 million women in the UK born in the 1950s who are now facing financial hardship after the Government increased women’s state pension age to 65, six years longer than they expected and prepared for.
The Hartlepool supporters group has 350 members in Hartlepool and the group says the issue affects 5,000 women in the town.
Barbara Crossman, a co-ordinator for Hartlepool WASPI said of the purple ribbons: “They are to make people aware of the WASPI campaign and mental health of a lot of women born in the 1950s.
“They are all over Hartlepool from West View to Hart Station, up towards Elwick and Greatham. There are at least 500.
“We spent a full morning cutting them.”
Some have labels attached letting people know they are linked to the WASPI movement while others don’t.
Hartlepool College of Further Education flew the purple WASPI flag just before Christmas for the campaign which is also supported by MP Mike Hill.
Barabra added: “A lot of people have asked about them, especially at the college. It has raised awareness of the campaign.”
In March, Barbara together with fellow Hartlepool co-ordinator Lynne Taylor will travel to Westminster to speak to MPs.
The very next day, they are due to attend The Pankhurst Centre in Manchester where the granddaughter of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst will unveil a plaque to the 82,500 women who have died waiting for their pensions.
WASPI Hartlepool holds a drop-in meeting every other Tuesday at The Vestry cafe inside Hartlepool Art Gallery, Church Square, from 10.30am-11.30am.
The next meeting is on February 4.
Barbara added: “Anyone is welcome. It doesn’t only affect women but men as the household income is reduced by £8,500 a year.”