About Penny Paine

Penny was born and raised in London, attended Goldsmith’s College, University of London, in the early ‘60s and was one of first seventeen women in England to receive a Fine Arts degree specializing in embroidery, which led, of all places, to a job with one of London’s largest and most prestigious stockbrokers.

In 1972, she met her late husband John who persuaded her to join him in California. Penny has six children and five grandchildren. When not involved in one of the various pursuits below, she loves visiting gardens, art in any form, architecture, writing, decorating and sharing time with friends and family. She divides her time between Santa Barbara, California and England.


Penny writes children’s books when she comes up with an idea! Books by Penelope Colville Paine.

“Book Shepherd” Publishing Consultant

With To Press and Beyond she helps many other authors bring their books (of all genres, including children’s books) to the marketplace.

Teacher Trainer

Penny trains teachers and school administrators throughout the country on implementing a Freshman Transition Initiative and how to use Career Choices and Career Choices and Changes, a comprehensive guidance program that addresses Freshman Transition Standards. She also shares great resources for working with girls and women, as well as other special populations. Much of this work is supporting nontraditional occupations.


Although officially retired after over 30 years with Girls Incorporated, Penny occasionally trains and supports the magnificent and needed gender equity work for girls provided by Girls Inc. Over the years she served in many capacities and it was through the publishing work at Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara that she first found her own writing opportunities. You could say she is an accidental author because she was really there to help run programs, teach art and organize softball.


Lastly Penny had an idea about sixteen years ago to create and design products for kids at weddings. It worked and her books and activity kits have educated and entertained thousands of young attendants and wedding guests. Yes, not an obvious gender equity effort but when you review the products and the books you will see the little hidden prompts and presentations that provide a positive angle to these “wedding day” items in a child’s life, a small token on her part but she believes every little bit helps.

Where Do I Come From?

Where do I come from?
From the edges of middle class
With secrets to hide
Hushed and shocking like the white carpet upstairs

I’m coming from strong hands
Brown and rough
Through the cloud of smoke and a green visor
That held jewels, women, poems and memories

This is where I come from
A long gritty history of bitter cherries
Points of beauty hidden beneath the nettles
At the end of the lane

From wild spirits and gentle souls I come
With loon pants, green fingernails
Blue walls, cold floors and free love
Playing to a heady vision, stylish daring and defiant

But I also come from a yearning
Sublime, perfect and calm
Matching, patterned, so smooth

I like to think I come from the best looking
The leader, the one who knew how to
To be the one who cried and bled for love, elusive
Shamed, yet defiant, a restless traveler of our times

I come from the washing hanging in the garden
Summer evenings, proms on the radio
Mother ironing cat purring father writing
The air sweet smelling hope for the future

I come from loss, ages of loss
Brothers, mothers, innocence
Money, homes, babies, livelihoods
Friends, freedom and country

I come from brilliance and talent
When shared snippets emerge, proud like the shining silver
That is in my eyes resilient
Like the English oak still alive today

– Penelope C. Paine, 2005


John Paine 1935-2006

by Hilda Zacarias

Robert F. Kennedy once said, “Each time a man stands for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” When I read these inspiring words, I am reminded that I have known but a few individuals who have dedicated their lives so completely to creating these “ripples of hope.” My dearest friend John Paine was one of those individuals. John died suddenly on July 12 in Santa Barbara. The Paine family resided in the Santa Barbara and Carpinteria communities for more than 30 years.

Those of us who knew him well would rarely describe his actions as “ripples.” Most of us would use words such as “forceful,” “determined,” “powerful,” “opinionated,” and “unfailing in his advocacy for others.” Whether he was rebuilding La Casa de la Raza or providing health services to indigenous communities in Brazil and Mexico, he amazed everyone around him with his ability to secure just about any tool, medication, piece of machinery, or supply needed for any project. The only thing that was more amazing was his ability to get others to act. His energy was simultaneously exasperating and inspiring.

John was born in East Los Angeles. One hundred years earlier, his grandfather, an Irishman, led a wagon train from Iowa to San Bernardino, where he married Feliciana Avila, who was born in the now-famous Avila Adobe in L.A. John’s father — also named John — married Concepción Gonzalez of Sonora, Mexico, a widow with three children who had fled the Mexican Revolution. Young John was a total troublemaker. He was kicked out of every school he attended — more than 20! But just as he would later encourage generations of young Latinos to get an education, he was encouraged by a high school counselor to stay in school. After graduation, he enlisted in the United States Air Force where he served as an air traffic controller for four years.

A psychologist once told John that he’d make either a good bank robber or a good social worker. John liked to say that “social work chose me.” After a career working with Santa Barbara County Mental Health, the Rehabilitation Institute, and the Visiting Nurse Service, he officially retired, although he continued his social work with other organizations, including Hospice of Santa Barbara. John never ended his career as a social worker — the morning of the day he died he was taking care of others. Just like so many other days, he was spending his afternoon playing handball with his buddies. It was there on the court that his larger-than-life heart failed him, so quickly that there was no long goodbye.
John Paine was adviser, counselor, friend, critic, cheerleader, and mentor to me and to hundreds of others. His unending pursuit of justice was an extension of his early work with civil rights and the Watts riots in L.A., the Farmworker Movement with César Chávez, and the Quaker Peace program. He never stopped working for justice; he just moved it from the streets to the boardrooms of nonprofits and community organizations. As a Rotarian, he was honored three times as a Paul Harris Fellow for his volunteer work around the world. He served as chairperson of Community Action Commission, where he volunteered for 20 years. He also offered his services to Family Service Agency, PUEBLO, the Carpinteria Community Services Board, the Anti-Defamation League, La Casa de la Raza, Human Services Association, Latinos for a Better Government, Planned Parenthood, and the list goes on and on.

This was the public John. The private John was the beloved husband of Penny Paine and father of Danny, Johnny, Diane, Oliver, and Miles; in an almost miraculous turn of events, his English stepson, Philip, had also recently come into his life. He was grandfather to Karly, Tony, Carson, Clay, and little baby Rosemary, born just one week before his untimely death. John’s eyes would sparkle when he shared a story about his kids, or the newest grandchild, or his beautiful Penny and her many incredible accomplishments. He was a great friend to many. And his laugh! We will miss that laugh, dear John — so hearty and full.

I had just returned from a year in Boston when I called John and Penny in early July to begin to plot our next adventures. We met July 7 at Red Robin (John’s favorite Santa Barbara restaurant — really!) and discussed politics, our children, and his work in New Orleans. I had spent part of last year in Boston, analyzing the government response to Katrina, while John spent most of his last year being a part of the solution — using his amazing skills to find resources for displaced families.

John Paine lived a full life in seven decades. He had many friends, former clients, and colleagues. Yet, no one will ever know just how many hundreds of people he helped. Nor will we know how many he inspired. But of one thing I am sure: He created a million ripples of energy and daring, and helped to sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. And for that, John, we are forever grateful.

Thank you Hilda.


Squadron Leader, Donald Colvill Wallington

Donald Wallington died on November 29th 2013 after a short illness. He was born in Dulwich on June 1st 1922 and he became a Twickenham resident in1946. Like many of his generation, aptly named by US author, Tom Brokaw “the greatest generation”, he joined the Royal Air Force as a teenager, to make amazing sacrifices and face constant danger and uncertainty. Like his peers those few years of the Second World War galvanized his character and the life long values and perspectives that formed our communities.

It is true that not much phased Don Wallington and throughout his life his determined attitude and healthy disregard for the “nay sayers” kept him going. Indeed, as a child, long before penicillin and the National Health Services he survived osteomyelitis (bone disease) and he would boast that he had his tonsils taken out on the kitchen table. He also survived two cancers.

In 1939 after matriculating at St. Dunstan’s College in Catford, he was briefly articled to the London accounting firm of Weeks, Hilliard and Co. In his “ family memoir” he writes that at that time he played cricket for the Old Dunstonians and at one game, where the cricket ground was overlooked by a railway embankment, trains passed by full of troops returning from the evacuation at Dunkirk and his desire to get into the services was becoming greater because there was concern that the Germans would invade. Just as he turned 18 years old the Royal Air Force reduced the age limit for aircrews from nineteen to eighteen. He joined up as a pilot/navigator on 17th July, 1940 at Uxbridge.

Don approached flying as he did most things with efficiency and accuracy. After basic training at Usworth, Babbacombe and flying training at Sywell and Cranwell he passed at the top of his class and was selected to attend Service Flying Training School to become a commissioned Flying Instructor for the newly created Commonwealth Air Training Scheme. He left for Canada to be stationed at the Penhold Air Base, Red Deer, Alberta, in November 1941, where he trained pilots on twin-engine Oxfords.

Having been granted War Office permission for a paid passage, his wife, formerly Joan Elizabeth (Mackrill) whom he had married on October 18, 1941 at St. Peter’s Church, Dulwich Common, just before he left joined him later that year. They both crossed the Atlantic in different convoys surviving sabotage, engine failures, storms and the U boats.

After Penhold, Don returned to England and was posted to 8 Group Bomber Command to fly Mosquitos and Wellingtons for the “Light Night Striking Force”. He was trained at Watchfield, Bountsthorpe/Bitteswell and Wynton/Warboys. On a night training flight from Wynton/Warboys on the 13th September 1944, he was flying over Prestwick, Scotland, in a Mosquito carrying an 8000 lb dummy bomb when the artificial horizon and gyro-compass failed in heavy cloud at 25,000 ft. With only primary instruments the aircraft went into a steep diving turn and he decided to bale out but as the hatch was jettisoned he was sucked out and his feet became hooked onto the control column and his chest was stuck over the windscreen. Fortunately he had not disconnected the oxygen but it took about 20,000 ft to wriggle his feet out of his boots and free of the aircraft. With about 5,000 ft left he was able to deploy his parachute and he landed safely albeit with bare feet. Sadly the navigator flying with him did not survive causing him to question his role and responsibilities.

Requesting solo flying opportunities he trained for conversion onto Spitfires and moved to the 91 Squadron at Ludham but time was on his side and by now the war was over and Don was posted as Sector Intelligence Officer to Flight Sector HQ in Blankney, Lincolnshire and finally to HQ Fighter Command as Deputy Command Intelligence Officer.

He served in the RAF Volunteer Reserve until it ended in 1964. In 1958 he had the privilege of attending the re-consecration of St. Clement Danes as the Central Church of the Royal Air Force, selected as the youngest VR officer with the longest service.

He would joke that he left the RAF in1947 with two skills, he could fly a plane and drive a car but needing a livelihood he decided to purchase and run a small local jobbing building company, Homan Builders in Twickenham, where he had moved. Over the next 22 years this small company helped rebuild, decorate and repair many local homes including the construction of many extra bedroom additions over garages that can still be seen today.

The business dissolved in 1969 and he went on to work for Turner Charles Limited in Isleworth and Barons Solicitors, Twickenham. He became a member of the British Institute of Management and a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and enjoyed working as an accountant for over 30 years.

Never one to sit back quietly he voiced his opinions, volunteered solutions and was a strong community advocate. As such he always remained involved in local affairs and he was a member and Past President of Hounslow Round Table, Heston and Isleworth Rotary Club, past Master of Royal Hampton Court Masonic Lodge, and a member of Whitton Cricket Club, Twickenham Conservative Association and South Road Residents Association. He also supported the Constitutional Club in Teddington.

Don Wallington was preceeded in death in 1966 by his son, Mark Mackrill Wallington, age 13 years, a student at Hounslow College, his wife of 64 years, Joan, in 2006 and his son in law, John Henry Paine, 2006. He is survived by his daughter Penelope Colvill Paine, author/trainer, Santa Barbara, CA and grandsons, Philip Davidson, London, Oliver Paine, Boulder, CO and Miles Paine, Santa Barbara, CA, Step Grandchildren, Dan Paine, Timaru, New Zealand, John Paine, Austin, TX and Diane Paine, Medford, OR and great grandchildren, Tony, Carson, Clay, Rosemary and Elsie.

Available from Blue Point Books: The Commonwealth Air Training Program, A memoir


When you think of my mother think of
A brave young woman
Amidst London’s bombs
Stepping over fire hoses,
Waiting for hot coffee and letters
Daddy’s wartime bride carrying violets
To cross the Atlantic to Canada
With mines all around
To be with him, an officer’s wife
So young and delicate
Through the hard prairie winters
Both doing their bit for England
Think of the hundreds of knitted teddy bears for orphaned children
Many volunteered hours
A gracious smile and kind words
Taking the lead for
Ladies Circle and Inner Wheel
And a valued employee
Embracing life, work and all it had to offer
Think of delicious dinners
Elegant parties, chatter and laughter
The finest china, silver and serviettes
Parsnips, gravy and syllabub
And don’t forget those scones
Like her, so perfectly English
Rising above the crowd
Think of the washing in the garden
Fresh flowers in the house
And how many pairs of shoes?
A high heeled passion for such pretty feet
Trips to the countryside and California
Oil paints and water colors
Her work shared with us all
Stamped cards lovingly sprinkled and tied up with ribbons
Books to read
Decorations to make, presents to wrap
Crossword puzzles to fill in
Think of Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart
Summer evenings and the Proms
Her sweet clear voice singing along
But especially when you think of my mother think of
Soft folds of silk, cotton and wool
Stitched with loving care, hour upon hour
Mats, coats, curtains, skirts and dresses
Created, mended and hemmed for us all
Machine whirring, scissors clipping, pins dropped
Skillfully trimmed, smocked and buttoned
Think of a loving wife of almost 65 years, a sister
Your friend and colleague
My mother and my children’s grandma
Not to be forgotten
That auburn hair, those fine features and clear blue eyes
Your opinions sought and hers inevitably offered
Treasure her English legacy
Her strong character and unmistakable style
And smile when you think of my mother
She fashioned her life with flair
Fine and distinguished