A bronze statue of a ‘heroine of India’ has been erected in Great Torrington Cemetery in tribute to a remarkable woman.

Dignitaries gather to honour Sister Torridge District Council aka Margaret Noble, at the unveiling of her statue in Great Torrington Cemetery. Picture: Torridge District CouncilDignitaries gather to honour Sister Torridge District Council aka Margaret Noble, at the unveiling of her statue in Great Torrington Cemetery. Picture: Torridge District Council

Margaret Elizabeth Noble was given the name Sister Nivedita which means 'dedicated to god' after her work in India where she spent her time campaigning for India's freedom movement.

She died in Darjeeling in 1911 aged 44 and her ashes were returned to Great Torrington where they were interred in the family grave.

Her statue was unveiled on July 27 to mark the 150th anniversary of her birth at a ceremony attended by Great Torrington town and district councillors as well as Indian dignitaries, including Swami Sarvasthananda from the Ramakrishna Mission in London.

Torridge district councillor Cheryl Cottle-Hunkin said: "I must admit that I was largely unaware of Sister Nivedita's family connection to the Great Torrington area or of the fascinating and selfless work she devoted herself to in India.

"Clearly she was a remarkable woman at a time when people - and women in particular - were not given the opportunities that they have today."

Sister Nivedita became involved with India after she had a meeting with Swami Vivekananda in London in 1895. The she went on to open a girl's school in India with the intention to educate girls who were deprived of the most basic education.

This is the first statue of her to be unveiled outside of India and was unveiled jointly by deputy mayor Doug Smith and Cllr Cottle-Hunkin.

Mayor of Great Torrington Keeley Allin said: "The information in relation to Sister Nivedita's incredible achievements in India and her connection to Great Torrington have been a revelation to many over these past few months."

The statue was paid for by the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Ms Mamata Banerjee to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Sister Nivedita's birth on July 4th and also in commemoration of her life.

Swami Sarvasthananda said: "We are delighted to be part of unveiling ceremony of Sister Nivedita, also known as Margaret Noble, who gave her all to India at the behest of her spiritual master Swami Vivekananda.

"It is a great privilege for the monks and devotees of the Ramakrishna Mission to honour her contribution by installing a bronze statue in Torrington.

"Our sincere thanks to Torridge District Council for their unconditional help and support."