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Anita Dobson

Anita Dobson, star of stage and screen, is well known for her services to charity. This cause, to raise awareness of the 1888 Matchgirls Strike, is one that is close to her heart as Anita is very proud of her heritage, as she was born and raised in the East End of London. She hopes to encourage people to support the Matchgirls Cause, and honour their name. 


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Diana Holland OBE

Barbara Plant

Diana Holland is the former UNITE Assistant General Secretary for Equalities and Industrial sectors. She has many years’ experience as a union negotiator and representative, particularly campaigning against low and unfair pay, discrimination, exploitation and hazardous work. Her campaigning with others has achieved new standards for many - from migrant domestic workers to fuel tanker delivery drivers - and she was central to the government’s senior stakeholder group on the Equality Act 2010 and Labour’s Minimum Wage preparatory group.

She is Chair of the ITF Women Transport Workers Committee, former President of the Confederation of Shipbuilding & Engineering unions, the elected Labour Party Treasurer, and in 2001 was awarded the OBE for services to equal opportunities in employment.

She has a strong commitment to trade union women’s history and is deeply honoured to be patron of The Matchgirls Memorial, keeping the flame of their inspiring struggle burning.

Some twenty years ago, Barbara was a GMB member and a teaching assistant. When the  head-teacher tried to change their job descriptions, Barbara and her colleagues organised, defied management and won. That was the start of Barbara's involvement in the union and its democracy.

Now, as GMB President, Barbara is delighted and honoured to be a Patron of The Matchgirls Memorial charity and its work.

It is so important that we remember and commemorate the legacy of the Matchgirls/women in our trade union history and celebrate their successful strike in 1888.  

Their solidarity, their actions, inspired many other workers and disputes at the time, leading to the rise of Barbara's union, the GMB, a year later.

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