A new Intercity Express Train has been named after a Bristol fundraiser who fought tirelessly to raise awareness of melanoma.
Kathryn Osmond, who died in 2017 at the age of just 41, was nominated as part of Great Western Railway’s 100 Great Westerners.
Kathryn worked as a paramedic for the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation (SWAST) for 16 years and passed away aged 41 on her 41st birthday two years ago today, 18th April 2017, after a battle with melanoma.
The train naming took place in front of members of Kathryn’s immediate family, friends and a large contingent of SWAST colleagues at Bristol Temple Meads.
Unveiling the train, Kathryn’s wife Sara Osmond, said:
“Today is a lot of things - It marks the day my wife was born. It marks the day my wife went onto her next adventure, the one we couldn’t join her on. It also marks the day that after two years my wife goes back to service.
“Kathryn was a consummate and dedicated professional throughout her working life. She remains a respected role model and leader, qualities I am confident her namesake will carry forward.
“I am so very grateful for the continuing support from the Green Family [the South West Ambulance Service] - thank you, every one of you.
“Particular thanks go to Rosie for nominating Kathryn and thank you GWR for choosing Kathryn for this very special and truly unique honour.
“To all those working and travelling with Kathryn on this new endeavour please know you are in the safest of hands.”
While coping with her illness Kathryn fought tirelessly to raise the awareness of melanoma and to find the "magic bullet" to beat it.
Alongside colleagues, she helped to raise tens of thousands of pounds over the course of a year through various challenges, one of the most memorable was when dozens of her colleagues took to the Clifton Suspension Bridge to do the Running Man Challenge.
Executive Director of Nursing and Governance, Medical for the South West Ambulance Service, Jenny Winslade, gave a short speech about Kathryn’s career as a Senior Paramedic. Praising her selfless dedication she said:
“Looking back across her career, Kath stood out as a dedicated clinician, passionately caring about the patients she treated, as well as caring for her work colleagues.
“She courageously went onto inspire thousands of people sharing her experience online - as she then became the patient – helping others whilst going through treatment for an aggressive form of malignant melanoma.
“Kath has left a hole in the lives of so many people she worked with and we were all devastated by her loss, it was an honour to know her and to have worked with her.”
GWR Business Assurance Director Joe Graham explained why the company has chosen to honour local heroes on their new fleet of trains, he said:
“Kathryn epitomises the spirit of the Great Western in so many ways, and achieved so much in trying to help others.
“It is an honour that we are here today to name a train in her memory, and in so doing continue to raise awareness of this terrible disease not only here in Bristol, but across the Great Western network that we serve."
Melanoma UK CEO Gill Nuttall said:
“Kathryn was such a pleasure to have known. She was a very popular character in the melanoma patient community and her efforts to support others, were widely acknowledged.
“Kathryn attended a NICE appraisal on behalf of other patients and because of her help, NICE was able to make a positive decision on a treatment that was pivotal for both patients and clinicians. She is sadly missed and the Melanoma UK team is delighted she has received such wonderful recognition.”
Kathryn studied emergency care at the University of the West of England in Bristol and worked in Bristol and Weston-super-Mare.
GWR’s 100 Great Westerners were nominated by the public through the region’s media and are a mixture of well-known and less celebrated figures who have made a significant contribution to the West Country.
The fleet of Intercity Express Trains first started to be seen on the GWR network in October 2017, and each trains covers approximately 800 miles every day across the Great Western Railway network.
Notes to editors
Pic 1 shows: Kathryn Osmond's wife Sara Osmond after she unveiled the train; and pic 2 shows colleagues from SWAST with Mayor of West of England Tim Bowles (centre) and GWR Business Assurance Director Joe Graham (far left).
Great Western Railway (GWR) provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services. We help over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year - across South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, and large parts of Southern England.
We’re currently seeing the biggest investment in the network since Brunel so we can offer more trains, more seats, and shorter, more frequent journeys and continue the network’s heritage of helping connect more businesses to new and prosperous markets. Through a series of initiatives we aim to be a good neighbour to the communities we serve and are committed to making a positive social impact in those regions. Learn how we're Building a Greater West at GWR.com. GWR is a FirstGroup company.