Every year on or near International Women’s Day (8th March), the Vale of Glamorgan Labour Women’s Forum hosts the Dorothy Rees Memorial Lunch. Dorothy Rees was the first woman to represent a South Wales constituency in parliament. She was born in Newlands St, Barry on 29 July 1898, and educated at the Barry Grammar School, and the Barry Training College where she qualified as a teacher. She was prominent in local government circles over many years, was an alderman of the council and was its chairman in 1964-65 (only the second woman to occupy that position). She served as the Labour MP for the Barry constituency from 1950 until 1951, serving as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Shirley Summerskill, the Minister of National Insurance. She was appointed a Freeman of Barry in 1956. She was a member of a large number of public bodies, including the Welsh Joint Education Committee, the National Advisory Committee for Insurance from 1947 (the only Welsh representative on that committee), and the Welsh Teaching Hospitals Board. She remained a staunch supporter of the rights of women to a higher education. She was made a CBE in 1964 and a DBE in 1975.
The guest speaker at this years lunch was pioneering medical geneticist Professor Meena Upadhyaya OBE, who gave an interesting and moving talk about her personal and professional life and achievements.
Photos show guests at the lunch, including Jane Hutt AM, Professor Upadhyaya, Sandra Perkes, Vale of Glamorgan Labour Women’s Officer, Rhodri Morgan, former First Minister of Wales, Cllr Paula Hardy and Emma Pritchard, Mayor of Barry.