Phenomenal People: who's your inspiring woman?

2012 marks the Women of the World festival and organisers are asking for who your inspiring woman is.

Mine is my grandmother, Sonia Anderson: she was born to a communist father in pre-war Germany who spoke up against the Nazis, Sonia was stranded in Paris whilst the remainder of her family fled with other German refugees to New York.

With no English she came to the UK with the Red Cross and went on to get an Oxford education before meeting my grandfather Don, raising 4 kids and spending 41 years as a loyal Labour counsellor in Harlow championing social causes, the arts and education.

She was a trustee of the Harlow Art’s Trust which was set up to promote the integration of sculpture and the arts within urban design (more information in this PDF). When she sadly died in 1998 a sculpture was dedicated to her memory

She never talked to me about her childhood or German roots but she was proudly political, a firm believer in social causes and devoutly opposed to any form or prejudice.

She taught me the importance of a broad education, reading and the arts, and to see past people’s foibles and stand by what you believe in.

I miss her daily.

So who is your inspiring woman?


My beautiful wife for sure. For many reasons. Sarah gave up a career in architecture – something that she is still deeply passionate about – to make sure that her family always come first.

I often joke that I’m the only bread winner in the house – and although sometimes working all hours for us web folk can be ‘normal’, she’s on call all the time.

This last year she’s been a rock for me, with work trouble and then the self-doubt of striking out on my own, Sarah’s been incredibly supportive and reassuring.

She’s the calm in my storm, the first person I speak to about a problem, the person I ask to judge character – my best friend.