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.