Celebrations at school in Hemel Hempstead for award winning former pupil

John F Kennedy Catholic School reveals purple plaque to celebrate former student

By Holly Patel
Tuesday, 1st February 2022, 4:16 pm
Updated Tuesday, 1st February 2022, 4:19 pm

A school in Hemel Hempstead is celebrating the work of a former pupil who has won an award from Innovate UK.

John F Kennedy Catholic School will be unveiling a purple plaque on the school site tomorrow (Wednesday) to recognise Samantha Bunyan, who has won the prestigious Women in Innovation Award.

Innovate UK hopes the plaque will inspire pupils at the school to follow in Samantha’s footsteps.

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Samantha Bunyan

Samantha won the Women in Innovation Award in 2021 with her idea to develop a new green ‘ecocence’ collection of bio-based, recycled, and natural materials; offering eco-friendly materials to the aerospace industry, aiming to enable the reduction of an aircraft’s carbon footprint by using recycled and natural sustainable materials.

The 53-year-old who grew up in Boxmoor will be returning to her former school tomorrow and will be speaking to pupils, she hopes to inspire the younger generation to follow their own business ideas.

She said: "I am really looking forward to going back to my old school, more than 30 years since I was there. I bet it has changed quite a lot!

"I am very proud that there is a plaque going up for the award that I won.

"My hope is that when I talk to the students it will inspire them and get them to think about different business ideas, and the importance of using sustainable materials.

"We should really start to consider these things to help look after our planet."

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Samantha is one of a network of 64 Women in Innovation Award winners who are developing pioneering innovations to tackle pressing societal, environmental, and economic challenges; from delivering precision medicine to underrepresented populations, to creating cutting-edge digital educational tools.

A twist on the blue plaque we’re all familiar with, Innovate UK is introducing purple plaques to recognise the achievements of some of the female innovators it supports who have won its prestigious Women in Innovation Award.

Currently, just 14 per cent of blue plaques in the UK celebrate the achievements of women.

The award also sees recipients receive a cash injection of £50,000 and bespoke mentoring to scale up and bring to market their pioneering business ideas.