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International Women's Day: Seven inspirational Kent women leading by example

By Katie Davis

In all of our lives there's at least one woman who inspires us. Be it your mum, grandma or a teacher, we can all think of a lady we look up to.

But, in celebration of International Women's Day, we have picked out seven Kent-based women who we think deserve a shout out.

Because, well, we all need a little inspiration now and again.

Lizzy Yarnold. Picture: Paul Amos
Lizzy Yarnold. Picture: Paul Amos

Lizzy Yarnold

As Britain's most successful Winter Olympian, Lizzy Yarnold is undoubtedly a force of nature

The former Maidstone Grammar Schools for Girls head girl, from West Kingsdown, was last year named on the Queen's Birthday Honours List and awarded an OBE.

The 29-year-old skeleton racer, now retired from the sport and expecting her first child, is the most decorated Winter Olympian, securing five gold medals, one silver, and two bronzes in her career.

Tracey Crouch. Picture: Simon Hildrew
Tracey Crouch. Picture: Simon Hildrew

Tracey Crouch

While Kent is home to a whole host of great female MPs, Tracey Crouch sent shockwaves through Westminster when she resigned as sports minister.

Her choice to quit came in protest to delays on plans to limit stakes on addictive gambling machines.

Speaking after her decision, the Chatham and Aylesford MP said she had "absolutely no regrets".

Her stand paid off as the government eventually announced an embarrassing u-turn and brought forward the introduction of new regulations by six months.

Judge Adele Williams
Judge Adele Williams

Adele Williams

As one of the county's top judges, it is easy to see why Adele Williams makes the list.

After an eight-year term on the bench as Canterbury's top judge ended in 2016, she headed off to the High Court in London for a brief period.

Now at Maidstone Crown Court, the mother-of-two presides over serious cases, putting some of Kent's most dangerous criminals behind bars.

Brenda Blethyn
Brenda Blethyn

Brenda Blethyn

Better known as TV's Vera to many, Brenda Blethyn is a true Kent treasure.

The actress, who lives in Thanet, has received several accolades in her time, including a Golden Globe award.

Now aged 73, Brenda is starring in her ninth series of the beloved detective series Vera, which began back in 2011.

Tracey Emin
Tracey Emin

Tracey Emin

Whether you like her artwork or not, you have to hand it to Tracey Emin for her success.

Determined in the face of widespread criticism, the Margate artist cemented her place in history with her Turner Prize-nominated My Bed and grabbed headlines when she married a rock.

She looks to be returning to Kent, with plans for a studio and flat in her home town in full swing.

Deidre Wells
Deidre Wells

Deirdre Wells

Former government head of tourism Deirdre Wells took over as Visit Kent's chief executive in September.

Mrs Wells took the helm of the county's tourism champion after leaving her role of CEO of UKinbound, the travel trade association.

She spent more than 20 years in the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, during which time she was programme manager for the Olympic Legacy Board.

Deborah Shaw
Deborah Shaw

Deborah Shaw

Since September, Deborah Shaw has held the position of chief executive of The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury.

She was the first appointment the city theatre made after announcing it was to become an independent charitable trust.

As chief executive, the former director of the Royal Shakespeare Company oversees the trust's strategic vision, boosting its commercial presence and keeping it financially stable.

And before you ask, International Men's Day is November 19.

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