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Former detective calls on officers to turn out for trailblazing Dewsbury officer’s funeral

UNSUNG HEROINE Edna Norman.

UNSUNG HEROINE Edna Norman.

There are a number of famous women who have paved the way for progress in the battle for gender equality.

But there are also the unsung heroines who led the way in female firsts without public accolades to celebrate their forward-thinking.

Dewsbury-born Edna Norman (née Hopkin) was one of those important women as one of the country’s first policewomen.

Edna, who lived in Ossett, passed away on 12 June aged 87.

Now former detective Cate Booth is calling on both present and ex-colleagues to pay their respects to this female trailblazer.

“Undoubtedly, Edna made it easier for me and today’s generation of women to serve as police officers,” said Cate, who was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for her work with West Yorkshire Police.

“From what I have been told, she was a dedicated member who took no nonsense from folk.”

A coach driver’s daughter, Edna joined the police as a single woman in her early 20s after signing up in October 1949.

She spent several years serving in the then Halifax County Borough Force before transferring to the town of her birth, Dewsbury, where she met fellow officer and future husband, Arthur Norman.

This meeting proved to be a double-edged sword. Although happily married until Arthur’s death in 1998, Edna was forced to hang up her handcuffs as married women were not allowed to serve in the force.

She continued to work as a PA in the NHS but her sole surviving sibling, Vera Ainsworth, believes she would have stayed on had she been allowed.

“She was in the force seven years and was used in a photoshoot for a recruitment drive to encourage more women to join the force,” Vera said.

“She took pride in her work.”

Edna’s funeral will be held tomorrow (Friday) at Dewsbury Moor Crematorium, Heckmondwike Road, at 12.45pm.

Ex-detective Cate would also like to see serving and retiring officers pay their respects.

“It’s a time to say thank you to Edna for serving in the police and for pioneering the way for today’s many female police officers,” she said.

 

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