THEY might not be household names but campaigners are trying to get more blue plaques to remember the history-making women from the region.

The Durham Women's Banner Group, which started last year with the mission of creating a new banner to carry at the Miners' Gala, is now trying to find ways of recognising some of the women who have made history in County Durham.

The Northern Echo:

Laura Daly, from the Women's Banner Group, who chaired the hustings event at Durham Miners' Hall

Backed by Lancaster University's Remembering Resistance project, they are campaigning to have new blue plaques put up to remember the feats of women like Darlington abolitionist and suffragist Elizabeth Pease Nichols, the 17,000 "Aycliffe Angels" who worked round the clock during the Second World War to make munitions and decorated war nurse Kate Maxey, from Spennymoor.

The Northern Echo:

Mackenzie Austin and Zoe Wilkinson, who are both pupils at Belmont Community School, nominated Darlington reformer Elizabeth Pease Nichol

On Saturday a hustings event was held at Durham Miners' Hall at Redhills, to choose which women should be put forward.

The winning nomination, by Belmont Community School pupils Mackenzie Austin, 15, and Zoe Wilkinson, 15, was for reformer Elizabeth Pease Nichol.

The group is going to contact Darlington Borough Council to see if they can get a blue plaque for her in her home town.

As a result of a three-way tie for second place, the group has decided to apply for three more plaques to recognise the achievements of County Durham women Kate Maxey, Bella Lawson, from Chester-le-Street, and the Aycliffe Angels.

Maxey, nominated by Lynn Gibson, served as a nurse on the Western Front during the First World War. Seriously wounded during a bombing raid in 1918, she continued to work while lying injured and was eventually honoured with the Military Medal and Royal Red Cross Medal, and was one of the first recipients of the Florence Nightingale Medal.

The Northern Echo:

Dorothy Rand, nominating Bella Lawson for the honour

Lawson, nominated by Dorothy Rand, was the founder and organiser of one of the first child welfare clinics in County Durham and spent most of her life campaigning on various issues, including women's suffrage.

Laura Daly, from the Women's Banner Group, said: "We've always said we want to recognise women from all walks of life. This is about trying to do that with women in history.

"It's a hugely important thing we're doing but a lot of people don't realise how important it is.

"There are so many blue plaques but the huge majority are for men and buildings. We want to change that in County Durham.

"A lot of the people who we are talking about no-one has heard of but they have done some incredible things and they need to be remembered."

The Northern Echo:

Mary Stratford nominated Annie Errington, from Sacriston

There were also nominations for Sacriston miner’s wife Annie Errington, who was part of a delegation which travelled to Russia to collect funds and support for the 1926 general strike and Wolsingham astronomer and navigation expert Janet Taylor, who was one of the very few women working as a scientific instrument maker in the UK in the 19th century.

The final nomination was for Hannah Porter, a seamstress and miner's wife who was born in Great Lumley, died in Trimdon Colliery and lived part of her life in Shadforth.

The mother of seven, whose husband went to mine in Australia in a bid to keep the family, faced a lifetime of hard work and poverty.

Mary Turner, who put her forward, said: "She did nothing special in the way some of these women did.

"What she did was she held her family together. I just feel she really represents so much of what we are as part of the women's banner group.

The Northern Echo:

Hannah Porter was nominated by Mary Turner

"It's the power of women like that which makes Durham strong."

There are a number of blue plaques in the county, but none are dedicated to a woman.

Among those recognised in County Durham are Charles Dickens, who spent time in Barnard Castle researching his novel Nicholas Nickleby, methodist preacher John Wesley and James Finlay Weir Johnston, a Scottish agricultural chemist who formed a grammar school in Durham, now known as Durham Johnston School.