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  • Writer's pictureEllen Worrell

What's in a name?

My dad is always keen to recount the story of when he told his mum that her first granddaughter was to be called Ellen. She is said to have responded in a somewhat mortified tone: "Gracious, are you sure that's a sensible choice? Our maid was called Ellen but everyone called her Nelly." (No maids in the family any more, that's for sure!) Her reaction did not deter my parents though.

I am yet to meet many Ellens in real life (in fact, I think I've only ever met one), but I was pleasantly surprised to find four of us in the Standing Out group on Facebook. Ellen is a variant form of the Greek name Helen and originally came into use in the UK in the 16th century. Its popularity grew in the 19th century and it is said to mean "bright light". Maybe that's why we've been drawn to the group?

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