Tribute speech at church – Bassaleg School

Miss Redfern – Head of Year 11

It has been my privilege to be Head of Year to Lucy and her year group for 5 years. The staff at school have kindly shared some stories with me which I’d like to tell you to give you just a glimpse into Lucy’s school life.

Lucy and Sophie came to Bassaleg from just outside of catchment with a small cohort of friends from Glasllwch primary school. They were definitely something of a fascination to other pupils – some had never seen identical twins before and they fast became quite the celebrities. We absolutely could not tell them apart in those days.

On Leavers day in May, Mrs Kirkham told me how they laughed in form class as Adam told a story about his first day at Bassaleg after moving here from John Frost school – he met Lucy and got to know her a little that day but said he was very confused later when he met Sophie; she hadn’t had chance to mention her twin yet!

Lucy told everyone about the time Sophie was asked to attend maths intervention in Year 8. The idea was to boost her grades. In fairness Sophie’s grades quickly began to improve, so much so she was signed off from the classes………..Lucy finally let the cat out of the bag that day that she had been the one who attended the sessions in Sophie’s place!

Lucy loved full course RS and got on famously with Miss Jenkins; spending two years sat right next to her taking every opportunity to quiz her about the things they studied; Miss said she loved teaching Lucy because she was full of questions, she always wanted to understand more about why people did things, she didn’t want to just accept things or take them at face value, she wanted to really understand them. Miss Jenkins describes Lucy as mature and thoughtful, as lovely, caring, hardworking and always so very interested.

Everyone comments on how she was really focused. She pushed herself to do the very best she could – she really wanted to do well. In a recent conversation, her mum told me how hard she was working at home too – preparing herself for her exams. Lucy was dedicated.

Many staff and friends have talked of Lucy’s infectious smile and laugh – she was full of energy and joy. She could always make Sophie and their friends laugh but also had a great calming effect on them when needed.

Mrs Kirkham remembers being really touched when Lucy brought her a slice of cake that she’d baked at the weekend – she wondered how she’d found the time between her gymnastics and school commitments! It goes to show just how much Lucy lived life to the max – finding time for little gestures that meant so much to people.

In our leavers assembly I mentioned a little incident that happened in year 9 where a group of pupils were brought to me at lunchtime after playing on the field……. they were covered in flour!!!! We bundled them all into the library and made calls to all their parents to come collect them – there was no way they could go to lesson 5 in that state. They were all blaming each other and Lucy and Sophie were besides themselves, slightly hysterical in those early days, as I’m sure you can imagine! They could both be prone to a bit of high pitched explaining and they tried several times to talk over each other to get their point across! It was hopeless trying to get sense out of any of them, so we waited for mums and dads. When mum arrived I remember the two girls getting quite upset and loud again as they vehemently tried to seek mum’s understanding and make it clear that it definitely wasn’t their fault – mum took one look at them, raised a finger and an eyebrow and the effect was instant! …..Silence…. I knew from that point on that these two would turn out just great. Mum was so good with you Sophie, and you clearly loved and respected her….. and Cath, I was very impressed at how calmly you handled the girls. It seemed clear they’d just got caught up in it – and Lucy wrote me note to that affect saying “I NEVER, (capital never) …wanted to get involved, it was thrown on me………..but I admit I did throw one bit”

In the detention that followed the girls dutifully filled out a booklet about behaviour expectations and in answer to a question about what she thought about rules Lucy wrote…… “I think the pupils should be allowed to invent new school rules” – I really wish I’d explored what 13-year-old Lucy had had in mind.

Lucy wrote me letters from time to time explaining problems she was having with people or worries she had – it was clear every time that she tried her very best to keep calm and stay away from trouble. A few times she got pushed too far and lost her cool, but she always came out smiling, worked it out and moved on. Her record in school and in lessons is superb. She received many credits from teachers for outstanding participation, excellent contribution to our community, subject shout outs, outstanding progress and many more. In year 11 alone she has 645 positive points against a handful of minor consequences – what a quiet, understated, conscientious superstar.

Mrs Lloyd Hughes got notes from Lucy too – on her maths homework. Lucy was so dedicated that she’d do her past papers in the car on the way to her gymnastics training, 3, 4 sometimes 5 times a week over to Bristol. It was the only time she could find so she’d write little notes on the work apologising for the wobbly writing! She made Miss laugh and Miss loved the way Lucy always bounced into her lessons, always happy, always smiling. She seemed to love maths and along with English, welsh and RS short course had already secured her GCSE passes.

Mrs Sullivan taught Lucy Welsh bac and I get the impression she had her work cut out with Lucy, I don’t think she really liked Welsh Bac and could be quite the force to be reckoned with, stubbornly resistant to the subject perhaps! Miss describes Lucy as a lioness – what a great description of her – fiercely loyal to her friends, her family and especially to you, Sophie; but she always nurtured and showed her soft, caring, motherly side too. Miss saw that.

We know Lucy loved her gymnastics – and Mrs Sage told me a story I’d never heard before of how Lucy and Evie Jones were competing at the Welsh Schools Acro Championships in Cardiff. In the taxi on the way Lucy announced that she’d forgotten her music (this being an essential part of the routine!) Lucy called dad and told him she hadn’t even burnt it to a CD! Miss Sage was a nervous wreck as she imagined having to hum the theme whilst they performed. In the space of an hour or so, not only had dad made the CD, mum had driven to Cardiff to deliver it, and all in the nick of time. It was Evie’s first acro competition but the girls performed as if nothing had happened because Lucy had done such a great job of reassuring and guiding Evie. Lucy never doubted for one minute that her parents would make it.

Lucy was also an integral part of the gym and dance display – her incredible talent captivated the audience. In the last display her ‘top’ or partner came in to showcase the routine that had gained them their outstanding reputation. It was a real show stopper performance. Mrs Charles said she was 100% reliable for practice and never missed a session – what a role model – dedicated throughout. And she was generous in helping others – Lucy was a great help to Sophie with her gym coursework too – guiding her and supporting her throughout her routine. Apparently the staff weren’t needed, Lucy and Sophie had it all covered!

On another occasion whilst walking in Snowdonia one of the group got a bit distressed about the difficult, steep and unfamiliar surroundings. Lucy was the one who, with a smile on her face, was motivating the group to overcome the challenges – her flexibility and dexterity meant she bounded easily over the rough terrain.

Lucy so well rounded – she realised recently that she was struggling a little bit to manage all her work and commitments and to deal with all the stresses this year has brought. So she came to talk to us and get support and it was really helping her. You must all do the same; remember she’s a role model – so do as she did, take time out to talk to someone; don’t bottle things up or battle on alone.

Lucy was an absolute credit to Bassaleg school; a young woman who was everything you could hope for in a student. It’s a privilege for us to have played a part in her life and we are forever changed for the better for having known her.

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