Let me tell you about Lucy.
I first met her in 1985 when she was thirteen. She was a member of one of my third year Art classes in my first year of teaching. I remember the class well because due to some timetabling glitch Art was set against PE and as this was taught as single sex, we had this oddity of two all-girl and two all-boy Art classes.
My girls group were not quite the breeze I’d expected, and I must say I struggled a bit in the first few weeks to engage them. Then I had the idea of introducing a project based on fashion and graphic design. With some help from my old mate Rob, a Graphic Designer himself, I was able to show the girls ‘live’ design work that he had done for the now defunct fashion chain Chelsea Girl. They were able to see the designer’s thought processes as the designs were developed and pushed forward. Well, that was it. We didn’t look back. I remember it as being a happy and productive year.
Lucy stood out in that class. In fact, as I write these words years later, I can see her in that clasroom, hear her voice. I still have photographs of some of the work she and the others made that year. A bit shy at first she soon revealed herself to be bubbly, vivacious, hard working, intelligent, caring, kind, with a great sense of humour. A lovely person.
I think she would be quite astonished that my memories of her are so clear. But sadly she will never know, for Lucy, along with 201 other people was murdered by extreme terror group Jemaah Islamiyah in the appaling Bali bombings of 2002. Lucy and schoolfriend Emma had taken time out of their busy working lives, for what they thought would be their last package trip as single girls. Lucy had just got her own flat, her boyfriend was due to move in and she had recently been promoted. She had everything to live for. She was 30 years old.
As it happens, I knew Lucy’s mum Sandra. She worked in the school office and again, a sweeter person you couldn’t wish to meet. To lose a child to such a callous and wicked act is unimaginable. I can well understand her admission that she kept Lucy’s clothes in sealed polythene bags in order to preserve the last lingering traces of the smell of her daughter’s skin. Sandra also wears the jewellery Lucy wore on that fateful night and by which she was identified.
There is a memorial to those Britons who lost their lives in the bombings in St James Park London, just behind Whitehall. I went there today and left some flowers.
So why am I telling you all this? I don’t know really, I suppose in a clumsy way what I am trying to say is that I still care.
© Andy Daly 2014