Lucy the City and Barbara the Shire: A tribute to Baroness Lucy Faithfull and Dr Barbara Kahan

Two singular ladies we greatly admire
Were Lucy the City and Barbara the Shire.
Both working in Oxon, they couldn’t be nigher,
With Lucy in City and Barbara in Shire.

Their characters differed, but each a high flyer;
Like chalk and like cheese, the difference entire.
The frissons between them made people inquire:
Who did the best job? Whose standards were higher
Twixt Lucy the City and Barbara the Shire?

With mixtures of jollying, straight talk and ire,
They’d charm or they’d argue for what they’d require.
Their workers were loyal – and they’d make them perspire –
Both Lucy the City and Barbara the Shire.

What was it inspired them? Where did they aspire?
Concern for each child was their personal desire.
In each there was burning a passionate fire –
In both Lucy the City and Barbara the Shire.

On leaving the City and leaving the Shire,
They still fought as champions where problems were dire,
With Lucy in Lords and her work with Ray Wyre,
And Barbara with Pindown, removing the mire.

Both still were in harness when called to things higher.
They’d both remained active and wouldn’t retire,
Neither Lucy the City nor Barbara the Shire.

Now no longer the City, and no longer the Shire,
They’re both of them part of the heavenly choir,
(With Barbara on piano and Lucy on lyre?)
And do they for cherubim’s rights now conspire?

We’re in debt to them both; they both worked without tire.
We treasure their memories, so raise your glass higher
To two famous ladies we greatly admire,
To Lucy the City and Barbara the Shire.

1 thought on “Lucy the City and Barbara the Shire: A tribute to Baroness Lucy Faithfull and Dr Barbara Kahan”

  1. Great to see something as enduring as a poem include Barbara Kahan; here in Ireland she was a breath of fresh air at a conference many moons ago (1973/4) where she spoke on the Castle Priory Report. She would also have been consulted subsequent to that on various issues concerning the care of children her. Coming so soon after the groundbreaking Kennedy Report in Ireland on the Industrial & Reformatory School system, Barbara’s talk helped usher in new thinking on residential child care in Ireland. As we now know to our cost it was badly needed in view of what the Ryan Report (2009) exposed. However, Barbara Kahan and those like her challenged the status quo and who will ever know how much she contributed to all that was / is good in residential over many years.


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