Pru Porretta MBE said “I rode in my first official Godiva procession on 12th June 1982 which started from the War Memorial Park, 6 miles around the city then back to the War Memorial Park.”
Coventry has had a tradition of Lady Godiva Procession’s as far back as 1678, but the tradition gradually faded out and stopped in 1962. So there was a twenty year gap until 1982 and it was decided to revive this tradition for the Coventry Carnival. Interviews were held with young woman who had offered to take this task on. It would entail not only the ride but to be the official Godiva for the year and spread the story of the self sacrifice that Lady Godiva had made for the Coventry citizen’s many years ago and promote Coventry. Pru Porretta was chosen. Little did she know that she would still be in demand as Lady Godiva 40 years later.
Pru reimagined the role of Godiva as a strong female leader seeking social justice and working with other female heroines from different cultures to empower their communities and to celebrate diversity across those communities collaboratively.
Lady Godiva is most remembered for the famous folklore story of her ride she was alleged to have made to free taxes. “Ride your horse from one end of the town to the other, naked”.
To commemorate 40 years service as Lady Godiva, Pru Porretta is inviting friends and people who know her to an event at St. Osburgs Church on 12th June, starting at 12.00 noon with Holy Mass. This will be followed by a community gathering in St. Osburgs Church hall, for the rest of the afternoon.
This article first appeared in Coventry Action for Neighbourhoods (CAN) newsletter 14/5/2022, courtesy of Paul Maddocks