AN ACADEMIC who compiled a list of pioneering women - including Buddhist teacher Jacquetta Gomes, of Kendal - was invited to speak at the Mayor's Parlour.

Carrie de Silva accepted an invitation from Kendal's mayor, Cllr Guy Tirvengadum, to talk about her "First Women" inventory.

Fashion designer Coco Chanel is among the luminaries on the list, alongside Noble Prize winning scientist Marie Curie, first woman in space Valentina Tereshkova and even two pigeons who earned medals for wartime gallantry.

Also listed are Shap shepherdess Katy Cropper, the first woman to win One Man and His Dog, the BBC sheepdog trails show, in 1990; and Mrs Gomes, the first ever female Buddhist fire chaplain. Her role means she may be called upon at any time to attend emergencies or to help care for firefighters and staff by listening to them in confidence.

After the talk by Ms de Silva, of Harper Adams University in Newport, Shropshire, the mayor said: "I am delighted that a Kendal resident is represented in such an important publication which includes women who have contributed to society and given great service."

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To view the list, visit