Today, on International Women's Day, we are celebrating those who inspire and support other women in the community.

A few weeks ago, we opened up the question to our readers: who in the Watford community should we feature for International Women's Day?

We were astounded by the response. We had dozens nominations and many amazing women to choose from.

Every single person who was nominated was worthy of recognition, but we decided to focus on those who dedicate their time to helping other women and who focus on issues specific to women:

Aislinn Quigley and Shelley Ardel, Bootyfit running group

Watford Observer:

Shelley Areel and Aislinn Quigley. Photo: Aislinn Quigley

“Aislinn and Shelley make people’s lives better. They are very humble and enjoy what they do. They just love it.”

Those are the words of Kelly Joyce, a member of the recently launched running group Bootyfit in Watford.

She has nominated its founders Aislinn Quigley, 48, and Shelley Ardel, 47, both from Watford.

It’s not hard to see why. Eighteen months ago, friends Aislinn and Shelley decided to pass on their passion of running to other women and decided to start their own group.

A running group based in Watford, it is designed to be suitable for people of all abilities, from complete beginner through to marathon runners and triathletes.

And in the short time Bootyfit has been around, Aislinn and Shelley have inspired 350 women to get on their running shoes and join the group.

From Monday-Saturday Aislinn and Shelley leads the group on runs which can last anywhere between five and nine kilometres.

Recently, the group managed to fundraise £1,000 for the peace hospice from all the miles they have run and hope to do more fundraisers through running in the future.

Running group gives women more confidence

But for the friends it is not just about the running. They believe the running group is a way of giving women more self-confidence.

Aislinn said: “Running has its own benefits, but we think that members who may suffer from issues including OCD, anxiety and depression are given more confidence with running.

“I used to suffer from OCD and anxiety but running has benefitted my life massively.

“Any kind of recognition for us is like a pat on the back and brings great positivity to the club.”

Shelley added: “Running helps keep me focussed and that is our goal with this group and for our members.

“The group gives off a real positive feel for all of those involved. You can be in a bad mood but once you get running you can get into a positive mindset.

“I am so passionate about running and helping other women.”

Singing teacher Shaheen Chino Khan

Watford Observer:

A singer for 35 years, Shaheen Chino Khan has been hitting the right note with her students in Watford ever since she moved into the town 13 years ago.

The Academy by Shaheen Chino Khan, primarily for women, was a dream for Shaheen who wanted to reach out to those who want to get involved in Indian music but never had the opportunity to do so.

Shaheen has been credited by her students for turning them into confident and motivated singers and are regularly given the chance to perform in front of hundreds of people.

Anisha Raithatha says of her teacher: "She is encouraging, inspiring, motivational and role model for females around her. She not only does help to achieve high standards of her students but mainly improve mental and physical wellbeing.

'Role model for females around her'

"And as her students, we strive to work together in a team with other women from a wide variety of backgrounds, socio-economic statuses and of different ages, cultures and religions."

Fellow student Shivani says: "What she provides for us is unique as she gives a space for each of us to be ourselves and leaves us with a vision that we can fly and achieve our goals.

"Her energy is positive, uplifting and empowering - she doesn't give up on us and is committed to ensuring that we don't play small and helps us truly believe in the art of the possible."

There are plenty more students singing Shaheen's praises - so how does the musician feel about being recognised?

She said: "I feel amazing. I feel privileged. Many of these women have busy lives but they choose to come and spend the rest of their day with me and share my passion. I absolutely love it."

Shaheen has also been credited by Anisha for her incredible charity which has helped raise considerable amounts of money.