Soap star becomes patron of Durham women's mining group

Actress Charlie Hardwick has become patron of the Women's Banner Group.
Actress Charlie Hardwick has become patron of the Women's Banner Group.

A former soap actress has become patron of the newly formed women's mining communities group

Charlie Hardwick, who starred in Emmerdale for many years has beome the president of The Women's Banner Group.

Lynn Gibson (left) and Laura Daly of The Women's Banner Group.

Lynn Gibson (left) and Laura Daly of The Women's Banner Group.

She will also unveil their community banner this year at their Redhills Revolution: A Celebration of Women event.

The event will be held on Wednesday, July 11, as part of the Education for Action (E4A) fringe events leading up to the Durham Miners gala at Redhills Miners Hall.

Charlie said: "I am delighted and honoured to be the Patron (or Matron) of this terrific group of women and can’t wait to unveil this extraordinary banner.”

At this year’s Miner’s Gala, she will proudly march under the banner celebrating the women who inspired it, shoulder to shoulder with the women who achieved it at the Big Meeting on

Saturday, July 14.

Charlie grew up in the shadows of the shipbuilding cranes of Wallsend on Tyneside and has performed in loads of plays, most recently in Sting’s musical about the demise of the shipyards in Wallsend, The Last Ship.

She was a member of the all women Poetry Virgins and now sings in a band of women called Kissed.

She was a regular on television as Sian the youth worker in Byker Grove, but is best known for her 12-year stint in Emmerdale, playing Val Pollard.

Charlie is an outspoken and passionate feminist, anti-racist and socialist, and has been involved in campaigns, causes and protests for as long as she can recall. Indeed, she was

thrown off her school council aged 14 for starting a petition demanding the right for girls to wear trousers, arguing it was against the sex discrimination act.

When she pointed out that she had been democratically elected by her classmates and therefore surely couldn’t be sacked, she was given detention, again.

The Women’s Banner Group is the first all female banner group to have been officially accepted by the Durham Miners’ Association.

A wide network of women’s groups from across County Durham are taking part in the project, which was founded by Laura Daly, the women’s officer for The Sedgefield Labour Party.