One of our foster owners has been awarded a unique coat of arms, specially designed to feature a donkey because of her great passion for the lovable animals, as part of her appointment to the ceremonial role of Constable of Lancaster Castle.
Pam Barker received the honour due to her extensive work with young people in the community and her long history as headmistress of Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School. Given the choice, she chose to have a donkey on her shield in homage to her pets Holly and Barsha, whom she re-homed over ten years ago and has loved ever since.
The shield also features a horse, a globe to represent Pam’s love of travel and her past teaching geography, and the colours of both Yorkshire and Lancashire.
Pam says it was a great honour to be granted the post and a joy to design the shield and to see it hung in Lancaster Castle. Her donkeys are still getting used to the stardom.
Pam says: “They ask you what you want on your coat of arms and I chose the colours of the Girls’ Grammar and a horse because I’ve always loved horses and I still ride. And I thought if I was going to have a horse I’d like a donkey... It could be a first. I don’t think there are any other donkeys in the Castle and probably not in the rest of the country! There are donkeys on French coats of arms but not here!
“I’ve told the donkeys but I’m not sure they understand. Maybe they will when they get to go to the Castle for Palm Sunday.”
Pam’s donkeys Holly and Barsha will assist her in her ceremonial role on Palm Sunday, leading an Easter procession from Lancaster Castle to Priory Church.
As Constable Pam holds the keys of Lancaster Castle on behalf of the Queen. She has a long history of community work, and met the Queen on the monarch's Diamond Jubilee, as Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire. She is the first ever woman to be granted the role, in its long history since 1400.