Aviation pioneer Edith is finally given recognition

IPSWICH: A century after she died in an horrific parachute accident, the final resting place of Suffolk-born aviation pioneer Edith Cook has finally achieved recognition.

Edith, who was born in Ipswich, was the first woman pilot in Britain at the birth of the air age.

Her exploits blazed the trail for future female pilots in an era when planes were flimsy pieces of machinery.

As well as being Britain’s first female pilot, Edith was also a parachuting pioneer – and it was this that claimed her life in July 1910.

She was only 31 when she jumped out of a balloon over Coventry.

Her parachute was blown off course and she crashed into the roof of a factory.

Edith broke her pelvis on impact – an injury that would be treatable today – and died five days later at a hospital in the city.

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She was buried in an unmarked grave in Coventry’s London Road cemetery and was all but forgotten – except by aviation enthusiasts in Suffolk.

Several years ago the Suffolk Aviation Heritage Group began trying to track down her last resting place, and after years of searching it identified the plot.

On the 100th anniversary of her death a new headstone was dedicated, marking the final resting place of the aviation pioneer.

A special ceremony was held and the Lord Mayor of Coventry represented the city.

In 2007 a blue plaque to commemorate the place of her birth, 90 Fore Street in Ipswich town centre, was put up thanks to the Ipswich Society. The Suffolk Aviation Heritage Group is also hoping to raise the thousands of pounds required for a bronze statue of the aviation legend.

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