October 1998. A white van pulls up at the Archive filled with a remarkable human being, bringing the archives of Wennington School founder Kenneth Barnes: The back of the van is crowded with saddles and bridles, and a bed to sleep on. Katy has driven who-knows-how-many miles. In 1998 she makes a living about to be destroyed by the Internet by dashing around the country, buying and selling horse-tack, eating sometimes and sleeping sometimes. She is filled with a zest for everything Wennington: hence picking up and delivering the Kenneth Barnes archives on her cross-country travels; hence her dashing off almost immediately after delivering them; hence her arriving in the early hours of a morning every time there was a Wennington Archive Weekend, however far away and with however little diesel to make it to Toddington - throwing herself body and soul into every aspect of the Event, and then disappearing back into the North.
In 1998 PETT had the great good fortune to be discovered by Katy Pentith: a person with a phenomenal zest - for friends, for horses, for cricket, for the Archers, for therapeutic communities and the Mulberry Bush School once she'd been introduced to it, for PETT, for throwing herself into helping people who wrestle with the margins of life and finances, for creative ambitions and enthusiasms which inspired others. Within and firing that zest was an immense personal resilience - in long occasional phone calls one came to appreciate the depths of her integrity and commitment to others, and the fiercely high standards she brought to everything she did, and the lack of obvious concern for herself in meeting those standards: cutting across an essential road trip to ensure she was able to keep an appointment to clean for one of the elderly people she helped care for; racing improbable miles across the North of England and Scotland to support friends, and to make it into work at dispersed Citizens Advice Bureaus; wrestling with computers.
Photograph provided by Katy's brother John
In celebrating her life at Thorner in Yorkshire, not far from the site of Wennington, and in the church hall where Wennington Old Scholars annually have their AGM, people came from all over: From Aberdeen, from London and Devon...March 31st, 2017. It was joyful, in the sense that an occasion bringing together Katy's friends and family, many of whom had never met before, could not help but be joyful. But it would be difficult to say that it was happy. One was filled with the laughter of recognition and love; but it would be difficult to say one was happy. One loses friends, and one loses horizons.
The display celebrating Katy
Irene Hill explores the display,
and friends and family meet and talk