‘A Lady of the Dance …’ by Ms Paige Turner
I was honoured to read this tribute to Pat Dancer, Creative Inker, who died at the age of 94 on my birthday Sunday 21st July this year. Her funeral at Holy Trinity, Penn, was attended by over 200 guests finishing with The Last Post in recognition of her service as a WREN during World War 11.
I knew you for 31 years. You would introduce me as your ‘writing teacher’ but you taught me more about living a good life and dying a good death than I could ever teach you about how to place words on a page.
When you were 80 you were writing quarterly columns for the glossy magazine ‘Chic Chat’ tackling tricky subjects like Self- Harm, Substance Abuse, Al-Anon and Mary Berry –all under the pseudonym Trisha Dee.
The concept of ‘Rhyme & Reason’ which published local writers’ words in aid of the Iain Rennie Hospice at Home and raised more than £70,000 over 27 years was your idea. You were the first co-editor and secretary and stalwart supporter of the project and of me.
Here’s what writer Heather Smith said about you. ‘Pat was blessed with apple pie good looks and an amazing intellect which popped out via those cornflower blue eyes, just to let you know that apple pie was simply a cover. With Pat at Bletchley Park no wonder the war went in our favour.’ How I wish I had written those words.
The days of your life were hugely purposeful and you made full use of your God-given gifts but I know you were ready to move on. For your friends and family, I will read your poem published in the 20th edition of ‘Rhyme & Reason’ which like everyone here was dear to your heart. So Pat, in your own words …
WHAT TO DO WITH MY DAY
Here hath been dawning another new day,
Think thou wilt send it then useless away?
Here hath been dawning a dark and grey day.
Think thou wilt send it just useless away?
No, I’ll keep myself warm and put candles around,
play some music to make an uplifting sound.
I’ll ring up a friend, make us soup and hot bread.
Or get into a book that I’ve never yet read.
Maybe turn on the TV and watch a good play,
Or look out the knitting I promised one day.
Then when evening is here, I’ll get ready for bed
And rest my old body with peace in my head.
Pat told me she was not frightened of what lay ahead. It would be ‘a very big adventure’.