Lady in a Van

I went to see the film ‘Lady in a Van’ last night at Bonnington Theatre film club (good value, excellent use of local resource). It is a film that I have wanted to see for while. Maggie Smith is one of my favourite actresses and Alan Bennett always produces a memorable story. I hadn’t been prepared to be quite as moved as I was and admit to having cried openly at points of the film which touched me very deeply.

Without spoiling the plot for others, the film is about Alan Bennett’s fractious relationship with an eccentric homeless old woman who parks her dilapidated camper van on his drive initially for three months. Fifteen years later Alan writes the lady’s biography as a means of recording her exceptional life because he felt her story needed telling.

This is not a sentimental film. It holds a mirror up to communities and society and explores how we all regard and treat the poor, vulnerable and elderly. It reminds us that life can be cruel at times and that small misunderstandings and people’s bigotry and ignorance can thwart other people’s dreams. Alan also reminds us that our relationships with others are a mirror into our own souls.

Everyone has a career story. The lady in the van’s was fascinating. I strongly urge you to see the film if you haven’t done so already. But be warned- take some tissues!


Published by

Nicki Moore

Nicki qualified as a Careers Adviser in 1996. During her 12 years with Derbyshire Careers and then Connexions service, Nicki worked with a range of disadvantaged groups including young people with learning difficulties and disabilities, the traveller community, and those from minority ethnic backgrounds offering both in depth and ongoing support and coaching. She has developed career learning projects in primary and secondary schools and colleges. During her time with Connexions she worked as an operational team leader with responsibility for supporting and mentoring careers and personal advisers in their practice and ensuring quality in the delivery of front line guidance services. Prior to leaving Connexions Nicki held the post of Curriculum Development Manager and was the Regional Development Manager for Career Mark- The East Midlands quality award for careers education and guidance Nicki now holds the post of Senior Lecturer and researcher in Career Development at the International Centre for Guidancr Studies (iCeGS) at the University of Derby . She has extensive experience of research, consultancy and teaching in the field of career development. Nicki’s international portfolio includes work in Croatia where she was involved in the implementation of the national careers service. She has expereince in the Middle East and Kosovo and on a number of European funded projects supporting the development of professional practice. Nicki currently leads a number of accredited university undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in career development including the level 6 Advanced Diploma in career development, The Bachelors in Education Studies, Career Development Pathway and the Masters in Education Career Learning Pathway. She has also written a number of professional guides for those practitioners working in an operational context most recently to support the widening participation agenda. Nicki has worked at a national level in the United Kingdom for many years, Chairing the Institute for Career Guidance (now the CDI) committee for Careers Education for six years as well as being an active Council member. Nicki is a Legacy Fellow of the Career Development Institute and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

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