Surprised but grateful to be invited to the Institute of Mechanical Engineers for an event celebrating the centenary of the birth of my great aunt, Verena Holmes. Until the presentation by Elizabeth Donnelly, CEO of the Women’s Engineering Society, followed by the unveiling of a portrait of Verena, I had no idea what a pioneer she was – the very first female member of the IME, after a three-year battle to be accepted, and then an inventor of devices as varied as a deep-sea diving outfit, an apparatus for treating tuberculosis and valves for internal combustion engines. Having inherited none of her engineering skills, the only tribute I can think of is to turn her exploits into a work for the stage. Verena the Musical! has a certain ring to it, perhaps?