Remembering Pen Lewington

By Sheila Birkin, Jessica Cater, Valerie Russell and Babs Bartholomew


Pen was an active and passionate member of the WKBG committee for many years. She was a firebrand – she didn’t hold back when it came to badgers. She loved them and was devoted to them – both across Kent and those that she fed in her garden. Pen was always by your side if you were arguing the case for badgers. She would not hold back when badgers were at risk for any reason, and she spent hours  and hours keeping records about the badgers in West Kent and reporting road casualties to the relevant local councils. We all hold memories of occasions when Pen went the extra mile – or 3 – to get a good outcome for badgers. A lot of work was done behind the scenes and her death is not only a personal loss for those who knew her well but is a tragic loss for our badger group. She was a good friend to many of us and those who knew her well can vouch for her amazing talent – in her craft work, photography and in her knowledge on music and general culture, not to mention wildlife. (Sheila)

I first met Pen many years ago when Jeff and I took a pair of orphaned collared doves to her bird hospital. Subsequently I bumped into her at a few WKBG events where she would enthusiastically show us all pictures of her garden badgers, but we only became friends at the end of lockdown. I was making face masks to raise funds for Folly Wildlife Rescue and Pen offered me some Liberty print fabric which of course was a great seller and assisted my fundraising efforts tremendously. It was then that I discovered she had had a very successful business making soft toys, which is why she had the fabric. We bonded over Liberty print and badgers, and quickly became firm friends. Pen had so many talents but the most special thing about her was her big, open, generous heart. She gave her energy unstintingly to the causes she was passionate about, foremost being wildlife and badgers in particular. She will be greatly missed by many people, which in itself is a wonderful tribute to a kind and loving person. (Jessica)

She was always there for me supporting passionately our work against the badger cull. I hope in some small way I was there for her. Her last words to me on the Friday before her death were, “onwards and up Valerie”. I shall remember these words in what will be a difficult year as we fight for the survival of our badgers, so close to Pen’s heart and very being. (Valerie)

Pen was extremely helpful when I was, as a rank amateur, caring for released cubs in our disused sett, & supported with tick removal & homeopathic remedies for common issues on their way to full rewilding. Her experience was totally invaluable. Pen’s empathy, her compassion & her utter passion for wildlife in general and badgers in particular, was inspiring. She attended every committee meeting, Fayre, fete, bazaar, workshop & AGM, as well as contributing to newsletters, workshops, cull leafletting & awareness raising events. Her constancy was rare. (Babs)