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TG's National Chairman, Margaret Key offers her congratulations & support to the RCN on their centenary

On Tuesday 12th January 2016, TG proudly presented the Royal College of Nursing with a stunning hand-crafted banner to mark their centenary. Here is what Margaret Key, TG's National Chairman had to say at the event:

"We are delighted to be here with you today to present you with the banner created by members of Townswomen’s Guilds on the occasion of your Centenary. We have a tradition of banner making in TG, our banner is displayed at all national events and our Federations are very proud to parade theirs at the AGM when the designs, reflecting their own particular area, can be seen and welcomed. This really is an impressive sight. 

It would appear on the surface that our organisations are very different and they are in that nursing is a respected profession whilst TG is perceived to be a social organisation but I feel we are all here today as a result of the struggle of our predecessors - to be recognised not only for their combined efforts in caring for people, but as individuals.  

The history of nursing can be traced back to ancient times as can stories of communities and individuals who have put their heads above the parapet to improve the lives of those who are disadvantaged in some way.

Your nursing predecessors reached a momentous occasion when in 1916 the College itself was founded and a further milestone in 1918 on receiving its royal charter, becoming the Royal College of Nursing.

I personally have a tenuous connection to your profession, via my grand-daughter who is her second year of nurse training. Recently her grandad was prescribed a course of injections which I was expected to administer at home – she stepped in and with great confidence took over the task much to his and my relief!

TG is a little way behind you, 2016 being the 87th year since our formation. Our roots are in the suffrage movement, beginning with the Kensington Society formed in 1865 and the first recorded suffrage society, when the struggle for women to be afforded the voting franchise gained momentum. Although the suffragettes are remembered for their struggles and the terrible treatment they received, Townswomen’s Guilds predecessors remained part of the suffragist movement and following the granting of the parliamentary franchise, in 1928 Marjorie Corbett Ashby and Eva Hubback launched TG as a means of educating women in rural areas on how best to use this new responsibility and to encourage them to become involved in their communities. This is still our aim today.

This is where I believe our two organizations may be seen to have a similar purpose. You care for people at vulnerable times in their lives and provide support within communities and in a way we do also. We provide friendship and support for each other, campaign on issues that affect not only women but society as a whole and encourage our members to become socially interactive as we go forward into whatever the future holds.

On behalf of all Townswomen I congratulate you on reaching your Centenary, the nursing profession has long been part of the fabric of our society and we wish you continued success in your endeavors."

Margaret Key
TG National Chairman

Margaret Key speaking at the RCN Centenary celebration event, 11th January 2016.

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