Admittedly, I have never met Lou – or anyone involved in the Big Learner Relay for that matter. Years ago, a post came up on my Facebook newsfeed about a plucky lady who had an insane idea to get as many people as possible to go round the country with her. This Children in Need loving Brit who now lives in Germany thought the concept was brilliant, and would look forward to each and every update each year. Lou once said in an interview “well, what could we as an industry do to raise money?”: and it’s this initiative, this attitude which really made her stand out. It would have been a privilege to have met her.
I’m a teacher, I’m good at communicating,I’m good with words,so why can’t I find the words to describe how I feel 😞.
I’ve known you 10 years and been so proud to work with you and the other committee members during that time.
I have read all the tributes , such lovely comments.
I can’t better any of them so me being me I want to share with you guys and girls something stupidly special to me that Lou taught me.
How to use a selfie stick. Yep I received a short training lesson in the art of using a selfie stick and just when I thought I’d cracked it my trainer popped into the photo 😂.
So that’s all for now Lou. Till we meet again on the relay in the sky……………
I was on the first BLR and honoured to be asked to be a lead car on the 2nd. One thing many people won’t know about ‘our’ Lou, was what she did behind the scenes in private. When one of my beloved cats passed away , she sent a book ( The 10th good thing about Barney) to help me come to terms with my loss. A copy of that book has helped the children of my friend come to terms with the loss of their own cat. Lou’s legacy lives on in so many ways. RIP beautiful lady and the brightest star in the sky. Love you. Xx
My heart and sincere sympathy goes out to Blaine and all Lou’s family and close friends. I hope your cherished memories can help you cope with the days, weeks, months and years ahead without your beloved wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend. Her passing is truly devastating. Lou was funny, inspirational, encouraging and totally committed to everything she did.
During her time in this world no-one could have made more of a difference in the Driving Instructor Industry, Lou freely gave her time to help so many ADI’s and PDI’s and always with such compassion, and passion for helping everyone to be a better version of themselves. She told me how late she was up to each night responding to messages of help, always trying to answer everyone.
Of course the BLR was a huge success and her work for children in need will never be forgotten. I was delighted to be a lead car in 2018, and marvelled at Lou’s stamina and enthusiasm. I’m sad I don’t have any photos with Lou that day, but it was quite dark by the time our leg started.
A large hole is left that no one can ever fill. A wonderful woman taken far too soon.
Rest in Peace Lou xx
I never had the privilege of meeting Lou, but from what I have been told about her from Kay and reading about her the only words I can use to describe her is a remarkable woman who was truly selfless, she changed so many peoples lives and gave them so much confidence, her charity work is truly remarkable from the money she raised will make her legacy live on forever.
Rest in peace Lou.
This lady was one in a million , what Lou has done for a wide range of ADI and PDI is unbelievable she will truly be missed
Lou was one of the, if not THE, most inspirational and exceptional people I have encountered. While I am based in Scotland, aaaaages away from the south coast, I had the fortune of meeting Lou in person on four occasions, and online many times.
She was always ready to support others, and for hundreds if not thousands of ADIs, is *the* reason why they qualified when they did. Without the support network she created and led, I would not be the instructor I am today.
My most recent memory of Lou is when I had to bow out of leading the relay last year, right at departure time as my wee girl who was with us had just been sick. Lou’s focus wasn’t on how the relay would continue, and she wasn’t initially interested in me filling her in on the amended plan – she was only interested in checking that my wee girl was okay and that we could manage home okay.
I’ve held back on posting any tributes to Lou due to a lack of words!! But over the weekend I was at Tabletop Scotland in Perth: seeing loads of people happy and passionate, participating in their interests, this continually reminded me of Lou and her contagious energy! I was left doing double takes because I could feel and sense the kind of energy, enthusiasm and positivity which I will always associate with Lou.
I’ll strive to do Lou proud as I continue in my role as an ADI, and am keeping Blaine, the kids and Lou’s wider family in my thoughts.
Lost for words is what springs to mind. It’s been about a week now since I read the devastating news of Lou dying. I am still lost for words. I met Lou first on one of her training courses a few years ago. She helped me so much to pass my part 3 and again for my standard check that came soon after. All the videos and the course, as well as Blaines of course. I then had the honour of being a lead car in the relay she and her team had organised. I had Lou in the back of my car! Seems silly right, to get so exited about having someone in the back of your car. But for me she was such an inspiration, full of support and hope and hapiness. Always helping people out. I know Covid was a struggle for so many if us and she would post the odd post on Facebook to keep us all going. She will be so missed by a lot of people and will leave a big gap. She was so full of life and still had so much to do, the new house and the start of the last ever relay to begin soon…
My thoughts are with you Blaine and your children and family.
I was lost for words 😪😪
Lou Walsh what a character, for ever smiling, her kindness and ability to put you at ease whenever you were in her company. I’m sure she’s up there with her spotty wings guiding you as a family in everything you will strive to do .
R.I.P Lou you were the best x
I attended one of Lou and Blaines workshops last year in Ipswich when I was training for my part 3. I was at a low point where I doubted my abilities and felt a bit cut off from my current trainer. I reached out to Lou and signed up for the course and I was blown away by how engaging and fun lou was. I felt like a sponge soaking up her every words and listening attentively.
I was so saddened and shocked to hear about her passing as she was young and had so much passion for her job role. My condolences to her husband, children and family. 💗💚
I had the privilege of training with Lou on both ADI part 3 training and train the trainer. Lou was probably the most passionate ADI I have ever met. She inspired me to do the best I could each day and support others in the process. It literally stopped me in my tracks to hear what has happened. Lou is such a massive loss to the industry but most of all to her devoted family. My thoughts are with Blaine and the family. I’m sure Lou will still be watching over us all on our lessons and will be that little voice saying to us ‘why are you speaking!’ Xx
From Hayley Burns, Sara Higham and Jo Wilson.
Lou was the founder member of The Swifties and we’ll be eternally grateful to her for matching us up so the three of us could begin our training together. We named ourselves after her Suzuki Swift and as we took our first tentative steps to becoming driving instructors we knew, even then, how lucky and honoured we were to have the iconic Lou Walsh as our trainer. Yes, we had put her on a pedestal but she lived up to our expectations and we felt like she’d taken us under her wing while she patiently nurtured and coached us.
We, along with many other PDIs, are so thankful to Lou for all the time and effort she selflessly put into Zooms during COVID while we were unable to be in cars and beyond, the PDI Facebook group and the Fail Focus videos. Even after we’d passed our Part 3s she was always willing to answer any questions we might have.
And then there’s the Big Learner Relay!! Only Lou could come up with such a bonkers idea, uniting the driving instructor community to raise £1000s for Children In Need. Being in the car all day with learners can make this job a pretty lonely profession but the BLR made us feel like part of a country-wide team. We were all proud to be invited to be lead drivers.
Thank you, thank you, thank you Lou. We hear you in our lessons all the time. Base your speed choice on what you can’t see, pizza crust and tomato lanes, kiss the parrot, set the gas to a purr, pointy carrots, it’s not slow it’s appropriate. We could go on and on. “What would Lou do?” is a question we repeatedly ask ourselves every day.
Sending love to Lou’s family and friends. If we think WE’LL miss her, we can’t even begin to imagine how you must be feeling. It was always clear to us how much she loved you and we hope, in time, you take comfort in the huge legacies Lou has left in the driving instructor industry and, of course, in your lives too.
Lou was vivacious, passionate, dedicated, kind, generous and fun. Our lives are richer for having her in it, even for just a short time. An incredible woman with a twinkle in her eye, her lippy always on and an eclectic taste in shoes & glasses. We’ll miss her so very, very much. The Swifties are now missing a member and Cowley Close will never be the same again.
Handbrake, neutral, cancel your signal 😢😢😢 xxx