Penny Lacey - My Tribute

Penny's spirit is the spirit of humankind. It is still with us, and will remain in the ongoing influence of her achievements, and what she inspired in us. She always strove to open minds.

Penny LaceyFor our special children, she knew the reality of the barriers that their conditions presented. She was a force in eroding the inhibitions of medical models that saw only disability. She was truly an educationist and taught us to seek to find ABILITY and nurture it. There was an underlying humour in this lady from the university. Who else could have humanised the dry processes of 'target setting' as she did with the subversive idea of 'scruffy targets'!

She sought to encourage us to give our children great experiences and see them blossom. It was her mission to overcome barriers by gentle means. Her influence was contributory in enabling Keith Park to grasp the opportunity for our special children to participate in performing the bible stories in the awesome environment of Westminster Abbey. Awesome is the right word, for in that place words soar with the sounds and echoes, creating an experience where sensory meets spirit. But when the humour she loved in Keith's work also comes into play, spirituality overflows into joy.

It has been my privilege to participate with those people – children, parents, teachers and just passers-by. My privilege to hear them chant and raise their hands together, one of the songs we chanted included the words:

Love is the key
But where is the door?

The work of Penny Lacey helped many people “turn the lock and open the door”.

So, I am sorry that when this special event takes place I will not be there to share it with you. But I would like to send you some entertainment in the form of a video of an improvised counting session that I did un-planned on the floor in the school that Penny loved at Castlewood. I hope you enjoy it, because on it I believe you can see it was easy for me, even as a stranger, because her children have been taught to enjoy learning - what better tribute could there be to her philosophy .

All the best from Les Staves