Train campaigner named Harpenden’s ‘most inspirational’ woman

PUBLISHED: 15:51 09 April 2019

Emily Ketchin of Harpenden Thameslink Commuters Group has been named Harpenden's most inspirational woman. Picture: Penny Bird

Emily Ketchin of Harpenden Thameslink Commuters Group has been named Harpenden's most inspirational woman. Picture: Penny Bird


A Harpenden campaigner has been named the town’s most inspirational woman for her efforts to improve the train service.

Emily Ketchin, of Harpenden Thameslink Commuters Group, has been hailed as ‘the voice of Harpenden’ for her campaign in response to timetable cuts, changes and train delays.

The vote to find Harpenden’s most inspirational woman, known as #SHEINSPIRES2019, was organised by Harpenden photographer Penny Bird for International Women’s Day. Emily received six separate nominations and 60 per cent of the votes, making her this year’s overall winner.

One of her nominators was Sarah Jenkins-Greig, who praised Emily’s “exceptional dedication, advocacy and tireless work to improve the train service”.

Another nominator, Rebekah Ingall, said; “Emily is amazing - she has done more on the train fiasco than everyone else in Harpenden combined!”

Jo Cumbo described Emily as an “absolute warrior” and a “true Harpenden hero”, and Leo Ketchin praised her “persistant determination”.

Responding to her win, Emily said: “I find the time to fight for the train service because it is important to us all.

Other nominees include Esther Hathorn, who was nominated for raising her large family while running both her business Visage Dental Spa and the Manland School HSA (Home and School Association) fundraising group.

The late Judy Fryd, MBE, was nominated for being the founder of the charity MENCAP, which helps people with learning disabilities, and local councillor Mary Maynard was nominated for the second year running for her hard work in the town.

Kim Brougham, a reception teaching assistant at Manland Primary School, was nominated for her support of both parents and children.

Parent Amanda O’Gorman said: “I will never forget the support Ms Brougham gave our family during a really difficult time.

“Our two adore her and were once overheard saying that they thought she was the secret, real life, queen of the fairies. She is an exceptional person.”

As a prize, Emily will win a photo shoot to document her work to improve the train service.

Penny said: “It’s vital to stop and appreciate the people around us and to say thank you in some way for their efforts, even if it’s a virtual hug.

“These shining people - with their strength of spirit - spur us on to make a greater difference in our own lives.

“Thank you to everyone who took the time to make a nomination and to all those who voted.”

Everyone is invited to a toast celebrating Harpenden’s inspirational women in the Corner Room of the Prae Wood Arms, St Albans at 8pm on Thursday, June 6.

Prints of the photographs from Emily’s photo shoot will be on display, and there will be a cash bar.

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