IN his job as a court usher Mike Lacey has seen people from all walks of life.
And he has used some of his experiences to influence his poetry, which is being published in a book for the first time.
The 69-year-old grandfather from Kennington has been an usher at Oxford Crown Court for six years.
He said: “I started about 20 years ago when I just started writing. I had never been a great writer before then.
“Some poems have come about from people’s weddings and others from thoughts that I have had or changes I have seen such as shops I know which have closed.
“I have always wanted to produce a book but never had the courage to do it but some family members and barristers have said they liked what I did and that gave me the push.
“The book is a selection of poems I have written over the years. Some of them are inspired by cases I have sat in on. One of them is called Friendly Neighbours and is about two neighbours who fell out with each other and appeared in court.”
Another of the poems is about Thom Airs, a former Oxford Mail court reporter who left in 2012 to work at the Angling Times, while another is a tribute to a barrister.
Mr Airs said: “During breaks in proceedings at court, Mike would often talk to me about his love of acting and poetry, but I never expected him to write anything about me.
“It was a genuinely touching gesture and was a great way to remember my time as a court reporter.
“I’ve still got the poem and everybody who has read it has loved it.
“The courts can be a very theatrical place so I’m sure they’ve given Mike plenty of inspiration.”
Mr Lacey has called his self-published book Unpunctuated, Until Gill because his poems did not have any punctuation in them until his sister-in-law Gill helped him correct it.
And he said he is unlikely to leave his day job behind if sales of his book take off. He said: “I work three days a week in court, which I love, so I am happy to do both.”
Mr Lacey, who is married to Sally, grew up in Sutton Courtenay and took an apprenticeship in making medical instruments after leaving school at 15.
Before becoming an usher, he worked as a facilities manager in the NHS for 27 years, working at the Churchill Hospital, the Radcliffe Infirmary and the John Radcliffe Hospital.
The father of three and grandfather of two is an active member of the Oxfordshire Drama Network.
CHEERIO TO THE COURT REPORTER
Mr Lacey’s tribute to Thom Airs, pictured, a former Oxford Mail court reporter who left to work at the Angling Times:
Now you are quite good at spinning a line, For you are a journalist writing about crime.
The Oxford Mail will soon be a thing of the past, For you have a new line which you’re going to cast.
The court staff you will no longer have to bait, For details you have missed from coming in late.
Although you still need pen, paper, iPad and phone, You will use them, whilst your fishing skills you do hone.
Going from the Oxford Mail, to the Angling Times, now reporting about fishing instead of crime.
Will not writing about criminals be such a wrench?
As you dream of features on pike, bream and tench.
We hope not too many fishy stories will get away, For it is from them, that you will earn your pay.
The reports of the one that got away, you can tell All put with exuberance so the paper will sell.
Now about the U’s will you not give a toss?
And go along and support the Posh.
From the court we wish you au revoir, For you will now be sending articles from the dock of a reservoir.
So Thom from us we wish you all the best And may you find a plentiful place for your rods to rest.
- Mr Lacey’s book is available at amazon.co.uk for £9.99.
- Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
- Send your Letter to the Editor: What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter for publication here
Our top stories
- Sexual assaults are denied
- Authorities search for solutions as graffiti in Oxford doubles in a year
- Tackling cyber-crime and fraud are main priorities for Conservative police commissioner candidate
- Prime Minister says he has no offshore funds following Panama Papers leak
- Traders called on to support this summer's Cowley Road Carnival
- Tributes paid in Witney to former butcher and much-loved member of community