An evening of inspiration...

Harpenden is a unique place. It is filled with incredible people who do inspirational things for their fellow human beings every day. #sheinspires is about recognising these acts, saying thank you and reflecting on the ripple effect of these actions.

Park Café was the stunning setting for a wonderfully uplifting evening of inspiration in Harpenden last night. Guests gathered to show their gratitude and appreciation to winner of #sheinspires2019 Emily Ketchin, aka ‘the voice of Harpenden’ for her incredible and enduring campaign to improve the train service for Harpenden commuters over the past year. The beautiful mother of two is humble about being seen as an ‘absolute warrior’ and a ‘true Harpenden hero’ but she continues to juggle her family and a demanding job in the city to prioritise the campaign she is passionate about.

Giles Croot spoke about some of the milestones of Emily’s remarkable journey, such as her leading the most supported petition in the St Alban’s council’s history requesting that the council take effective action; being the only passenger to give oral evidence to the transport select committee in the Houses of Parliament; and taking the campaign to BBC, ITV, Channel Four & Five and Sky News.

He said the evening was a good opportunity to reflect on the impact Emily and the people of Harpenden had made so far. Adding:

“We will keep up the pressure on Thameslink to fix the problem they created.”

Emily took the opportunity to thank everyone for their support, saying that there is still much to do, but steady progress is being made.

“The impact of Thameslink’s decision to reduce Harpenden trains by 30% without consultation has had a hugely adverse effect not only on commuters and their places of work, but on our support network of family and local business - it’s been a personal and financial blow for everyone and is not acceptable.”

It has been such an honour to meet and work with Emily over the last few weeks. She is an amazing inspiration to me and all the people around her.

I was also thrilled to be able to applaud the other nominees Kim Brougham, Mary Maynard and Esther Hathorn for their inspirational work - and many thanks for Elly Downes for representing her legend of a grandmother Judy Fryd CBE.

Janet Crawley, winner of #sheinspires2018 was also at the event to wish this year’s nominees well.

Over the last three weeks I have been frequenting Harpenden station to try and capture images that reflect the plight of the Harpenden commuters and Emily’s incredible endeavours to improve our train service. The images were displayed for guests to view. Many thanks to all the lovely commuters for their patience during this time - I really hope the images go some way towards telling your story.

Special thanks to Isaac Kenyon for being my wingman at the event.

she inspires

We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already. We have the power to imagine better. JK Rowling.

You know her. She has courage. Deep gratitude for our world, her life, and the people around her. She listens with empathy. She loves openly and unconditionally. She is authentic. Utterly trustworthy. Deeply passionate about the things that matter to her, particularly her calling in life. Her positivity shines from every pore. She has faced adversity, but uses her past struggles to help and develop others.

She is humble.

She inspires.

Janet Crawley was voted the most inspirational woman in Harpenden in 2018. Here she is pictured at St Matthews care home in Redbourn with one of her beloved dementia residents.

Janet Crawley was voted the most inspirational woman in Harpenden in 2018. Here she is pictured at St Matthews care home in Redbourn with one of her beloved dementia residents.

To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March 2019, let’s recognise these amazing women in our midst. We know who they are.

nominate here, then vote on facebook!

Celebrate the most inspirational woman in your life. (The only requirement is that she lives in Harpenden.) First complete the nomination form and submit it. Then visit my FaceBook Group Harpenden through the lens (sorry you will need to join it - I’ve tried to find an easier way to do this - without success!) add the person’s name to the poll, and vote for her.

Closing date: Sunday 31 March 2019 - the winner will be announced on Mother’s Day. The award is a portrait session with pennybird and camera, reportage style, showcasing and recognising the contribution the person makes to the Harpenden community. (Please see last year’s award here.)

Your name *
Your name

Thank you! Now visit my FaceBook Group Harpenden through the lens and vote in the poll.