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It has been a great privilege learning about Grace Eyre’s life and her close family. Only six months ago I did not know of Grace Eyre the charity or the person. It was a remarkable experience to be able to learn of a work and person that had been there but that I only now was starting to learn about and from.
Researching Grace Eyre Woodhead challenged my own biases. Grace and her sister Hilda attended university. They were also from a wealthy family. This meant I had some expectations of what Grace would and would not do.
I was surprised to learn Grace and her sisters liked sports. They had competed for various towns and counties throughout her life. I had imagined Grace would not be interested in sport. I also thought she would be too busy to play sport.
I found myself relearning the lesson of being aware of and challenging our biases. We are all made of many parts. It is important to remain open to and value all these parts of ourselves. It doesn’t matter whether they fit a certain category or not.
I learnt about how Grace Eyre supported people with learning disabilities. This was deeply moving for me.
In September 1919, Grace Eyre offered a reward to help find a missing person who lived at one of Grace Eyre’s farms. This shows Grace Eyre were very concerned for the safety of this person.
Grace Eyre also stood up for people with learning disabilities. Grace Eyre had clashes with the local government about this. Back then, there was a great deal of negativity against people with learning disabilities.
Through my research I have been able to see, piece by piece, a journey of victories and hardship. I have also seen how determined Grace Eyre was. She fought for embracing all our aspects as a society.
So it is our diversity as individuals that gives us strength and must be valued.