[A]s the country stands together today for a national day of action against hate crime, for Carmel Kielty #WeStandTogether isn’t just a slogan – it’s a call to action.
The 56-year-old from Lytham St Annes had just boarded a train to Preston in January this year when she saw a man being abusive and threatening two young Asian boys.
She said: “He was standing over them, shouting hateful, racist things and threatening to fight them. This was a grown man and these were two teenagers who were visibly shocked and scared.”
Carmel, who stands at just 5ft 3ins, glanced around the busy carriage hoping to make eye contact with someone who was equally disgusted but when no one stirred, she stood up, walked down the gangway and sat down next to the two boys.
“I couldn’t just sit there and let him spout this horrible racist rubbish. I felt like if I did the boys would assume my silence meant I agreed with him. I had to try to stop him so, even though I was shaking inside, I got up and sat down next to them.”
Carmel started chatting to the two boys to reassure them but the man then turned his attention to her and continued making threats and being abusive.
“I had hoped that my show of solidarity with the boys might make him go away but he became even more abusive, saying such horrible things.
“Even so, I’d still do the same again – it’s not in me to stand by while someone is picked on for who they are or what they believe.
“We need to stand together and stand up to hate crime. We live in a multi cultural society and it’s something to be celebrated – nobody should have to suffer abuse like this, especially not two young kids.”
British Transport Police boarded the train at Preston and arrested the man, who was later sentenced to 20 weeks in jail for breaching his anti social behaviour order.
Carmel will be presented with the Divisional Commander’s Certificate of Commendation for her bravery by Chief Superintendent Allan Gregory, from British Transport Police, at a ceremony in Leeds next week.