In memory of Lorna Kelly, FSRH External Affairs Manager

Posted 2 April 2024

Date: 02 Apr 2024

Type: FSRH News and Information

It is with immense sadness that we announce the passing of Lorna Kelly, FSRH External Affairs Manager.

Lorna was hugely respected and admired by all at the FSRH; and her kindness, energy, warmth and passion for women’s health touched all that knew her.  

Her sudden passing has affected all of us at the FSRH very deeply. Lorna embodied the very best of our values and will always be in our thoughts. 

We offer our fullest support and deepest condolences to her family and friends at this difficult time. 

Lorna Annie Kelly, a beacon of compassion, advocacy, and creativity, left this world unexpectedly on 18th March 2024, at the young age of 36. Proudly Irish, and hailing from beautiful county Donegal, Lorna's journey was one marked by unwavering dedication to social justice, artistic expression, community empowerment, and a profound love for those around her. 

Educated at Manchester Metropolitan University, Lorna delved into the realm of fashion design, where her innate talent for design and boundless creativity flourished. However, her calling extended beyond the world of fashion; she embarked on a path that intertwined her passion for the arts with her heartfelt desire to make a difference in the world. 

Following her studies, Lorna's career took diverse yet purposeful turns. She brought her creativity to set, prop and costume design, which she also taught, infusing her flair for artistry into captivating productions. Later, she transitioned to managing shops and properties in the vibrant neighbourhood of Notting Hill, where her warmth and dedication touched countless lives. 

A fervent advocate for reproductive rights and social justice, Lorna tirelessly campaigned and marched for the legalisation and decriminalisation of abortion across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland through the London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign, of which she was a member. Her commitment to change and social justice led her to work with Emma Dent Coad, MP for Kensington, during the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire. There, she offered solace and support to grieving families, embodying empathy in the face of tragedy. Lorna then worked as Emma’s Parliamentary Assistant in Westminster. She was also passionate about local government and twice ran for Labour in elections to Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council. 

At the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), Lorna's impact was profound. In her role as External Affairs Communications & Policy Manager, she championed sexual and reproductive rights as fundamental human rights. She was especially proud of her role in securing the participation of the FSRH in Davina McCall’s documentary about contraception, ‘Pill Revolution’. Moreover, one of her recent press briefings regarding access to over-the-counter emergency contraception broke the record for media engagement at the FSRH and was picked up by major national newspapers and media agencies. For these and her many other accomplishments, Lorna was frequently recognised by her colleagues across the organisation. Her unwavering dedication for access to abortion and comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare has transformed the lives of countless individuals, leaving an indelible mark on society. 

Lorna was a staunch advocate for cooperative values, social housing, fairness, and equity. As a member of the Backdoor Cooperative, she embodied the principles of community, solidarity, and collective empowerment. 

In addition to her myriad of accomplishments, Lorna served as the Director of the Special Measures Community Interest Company, a role that exemplified her commitment to fostering positive change within communities. Among her proudest achievements was her instrumental support in staging the poignant play ‘Dictating to the Estate’. This original documentary play delved into the events leading up to the Grenfell Tower fire, shedding light on the systemic failures and injustices that preceded the tragedy. Lorna's dedication to amplifying the voices of those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire through art and storytelling epitomised her unwavering commitment to truth and justice. Her efforts not only honoured the memory of the victims but also served as a catalyst for meaningful dialogue and change. Lorna's legacy of compassion, activism, and creativity will forever inspire us to strive for a world where every voice is heard, and every life is valued. 

Beyond her professional endeavours, Lorna's nurturing and caring nature was also expressed in her bond with her cherished feline companion, Cat Power, affectionately known as CP. Everyone who knew her knew that her love for Cat Power, named after one of her favourite musicians, transcended words, and demonstrated the depth of her capacity for love and connection. 

Lorna's passion for books, music, art, and antiques was evident in her frequent explorations of Portobello and Golborne Road Markets, where she sought out precious and unusual treasures. Her nearby friends couldn’t resist joining her on market expeditions, in which she readily shared her valuable insights on the best stalls and bargains. She would excitedly share pictures of any finds that she knew her friends were looking for, and always had others at the forefront of her mind when wandering the markets. She was a true Golborne Road local and befriended many shopkeepers and market stall owners in the area over the years. 

Surrounded by a circle of close friends, who adored her dearly, Lorna's presence brought warmth, laughter, and joy to those who knew her. Lorna was generous, supportive, helpful and thoughtful, amongst many other qualities. Lorna was a real champion of people and their achievements; she always encouraged you to be the person you wanted to be and was there when you needed her. Lorna came from a tight-knit family and is survived by her heartbroken parents, Jenny and Eunan, and siblings, Helen and Luke. 

Lorna leaves behind a legacy of compassion, activism, and creativity that will continue to inspire generations to come. Though her time with us was tragically brief, her spirit will forever illuminate the path towards a more just and compassionate world. 

In honouring Lorna's memory, let us carry forward her vision of a society founded on empathy, equity, and empowerment. May her vibrant spirit live on in the countless lives she touched and the causes she championed with unwavering dedication and boundless love. Lorna's light may have dimmed, but its glow will forever guide us towards a brighter tomorrow.