New book tells the forgotten stories of amazing North East women

From rebels to writers, athletes to astronauts, women have achieved it all. But often their accomplishments have been forgotten or even written out of the history books. 

Now a new history book has been written to set the record straight.

Dr Kate Fox has gathered together the stories of remarkable women from the North of England to preserve them for future generations.

A true northerner, who was born in Yorkshire, went to school in Cumbria, worked in the North West and now lives in the North East, Dr Fox told ITV Tyne Tees, "Northern women did so many more things than we realise. 

"Often against difficult odds because it did use to be, still can be, harder for women to get an education, get a degree, break out of the life they were supposed to live. 

"A lot of these stories are of women who had to really battle and fight to do what they wanted to do."

Kate Fox developed a 'girl crush' on St Hilda of Whitby while researching her story Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The book features numerous women from across the centuries. Saint Hilda's is the earliest story and it was her that got Dr Fox thinking about how women are remembered in history.

She admits she developed a bit of a 'girl crush' on St Hilda while researching her: "Whitby is known for Dracula, Whitby Abbey and goths. 

"I think it should also make more of a fuss about one of the most influential Northern women who ever lived - Saint Hilda of Whitby. Her life was weirdly Game of Thrones. 

"She started off as a pagan princess at a time when all the Kingdoms were warring and her Dad was a king who got assassinated. 

"But she went on to find Whitby Abbey and she was known as this really powerful but gentle leader, people came from all around the world to visit her. 

And I can't understand why she's not more remembered in the North."

More recent stories include Lilian Bader, one of the first black women to join the forces at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire and Charmian Welsh, a diver who honed her skills in the Pit Pond at Dawdon. 

Charmian Welsh practising diving at Dawdon Pit Pond Credit: Charmian Welsh

Despite being told that she was, "geographically misplaced because all we had up in the North East was diving boards, we didn't have any experts to teach us how to use them", because Olympic diving coaches were based in London, Charmian Welsh went on to win two Commonwealth Gold medals.

Dr Fox believes it's important to tell the stories of inspiring role models because "you can't be it unless you can see it."

A thought echoed by Newcastle MP, Chi Onwurah, who's included in the book along with her mother and sister, film director Ngozi Onwurah. 

Chi Onwurah, Newcastle Central MP.

Chi Onwurah, who is a trained electrical engineer says, "I know as a kid growing up in Newcastle, I didn't know about any women engineers and that was a big problem for me because I wanted to be an engineer.

"Many women throughout history have not had a platform to share their views, their contributions, their achievements. I think it's great to have a book like this so we recognise the great shoulders that we stand on."

It's hoped this book will keep these women's stories alive and encourage people to remember many more.