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Penny Lancaster reveals why she would rather be a cop than walk the red carpet


Penny Lancaster (pictured) is training to be a police officer and is due to qualify as a special police officer shortly after her 50th birthday in March

One night a week, Penny Lancaster slips out of the Essex mansion she shares with husband Sir Rod Stewart and takes the train to London alone. She leaves the veteran rocker at home to put her two young sons to bed.

Because she is training to be a police officer and should qualify as a special police officer shortly after her 50th birthday in March. Your training for the City of London Police takes place one weekday every week and every other weekend from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The couple have been together for two decades and Rod doesn't try to dissuade them. "He knows better than to try," says Penny. It's an eight-month course that ends with her taking the oath of allegiance – and pledging to do her duty with fairness, integrity, diligence and impartiality. She is then qualified to set off in protective clothing with a baton and handcuffs.

Penny explains her motivation to become a key worker. & # 39; That's who I am. I could walk the red carpet with Rod or be in our barn with my goats. But at some point everyone asks themselves and asks: Who am I? Who am I at my core? & # 39; I should have always done that. It's about identity. & # 39;

It's not like Penny's life isn't filled to the brim. The dazzling 6ft 1in former lingerie model is a regular panelist on the ITV chat show Loose Women, an accomplished photographer, a wild charity fundraiser, has worked for the Prince & # 39; s Trust, and is a busy mom. She was also a candidate for Strictly Come Dancing in 2007.

She is currently focused on the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and their launch of a sweepstakes to raise money for the charity where someone will win a £ 3 million London townhouse.

This is the kind of headline initiative Penny's mom Sally thought her daughter meant when she said it was time to do something to help society – and not get to the point.

Penny says, “I told mom it wasn't enough. Being a cop gives back to society in the most profound way. This applies to all rescue services – including the fire brigade and ambulance. & # 39; She says she never thought of becoming a police officer when she was growing up.

“I didn't know I would be tough enough. But as you mature, you realize that you are capable of much more than you think you are.

“Police work requires so many different skills. For example, I'm not very good at computers, so I haven't been able to fight cybercrime, but I know I'm good with people. & # 39;

Her passion was sparked when she was invited to join a Channel 4 series called Famous And Fighting Crime in 2019, which featured celebrities trying their hand at crime fighting. “I was supposed to be getting out of my comfort zone, but actually it felt like I was where I should be. It was a revelation. & # 39;

She is currently focused on the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and their launch of a sweepstakes to raise money for the charity where someone will win a £ 3 million London townhouse. In the picture Penny with Rod Stewart

She is currently focused on the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and their launch of a sweepstakes to raise money for the charity where someone will win a £ 3 million London townhouse. In the picture Penny with Rod Stewart

Of course, Rod and the couple's sons – Alastair, 15 and Aiden, 9 – have raised concerns about their safety. "They have their fears," she admits.

"But they know me well enough that if I focus on something, I'll do it – if they hear that passion in my voice."

Her training had an interesting side effect. Sometimes when she makes parental law at home, her cubs moan, “Oh mom! You wouldn't be like this if you weren't a cop! & # 39;

Currently, Rod, 75, has been screened at home because his shows were canceled until next summer. A prostate cancer survivor, he had knee replacement surgery and follow-up surgery on his ankle in January. He will receive the Covid vaccine as soon as he is eligible.

Penny says, "It was tough for Rod because he almost retired – and retirement is not a word he would ever say. He catches up with Zoom's band – with whom he can't wait to go on tour – and has written a new album. He always writes. & # 39;

Currently, Rod, 75, has been screened at home because his shows were canceled until next summer. Pictured Penny and Graham Lancaster at the British Heart Foundation's Heart Hero Awards last year

Currently, Rod, 75, has been screened at home because his shows were canceled until next summer. Pictured Penny and Graham Lancaster at the British Heart Foundation's Heart Hero Awards last year

The new songs are nostalgic and sentimental – fitting the lost pandemic months in which he wrote them. Penny's favorite is called Touchline, a reflection on family ties.

"It's about football, but it's symbolic – it's about Rod as a young boy and his father watching from the contact line and helping little Roddy through the wind and rain," she says. & # 39; Now Rod has come full circle. He is the older father who stands on the contact line in the wind and rain and watches his boys play. Nothing gives it a greater thrill. & # 39; The Stewart family has an exercise room that is a shrine to Rod's beloved Celtic.

It hangs thick with shirts and scarves in the team's green and white tires and pictures and mementos of its association with the Glasgow Club half a century ago. (Judging by the large snooker table and popcorn machine, the space isn't just used for sweating.)

Penny is on her own health awareness mission to highlight the importance of having a strong heart and the need for cardiovascular exercise. She has raised money for the BHF since she was a child. She recalls that she once lost a jar of coins and banknotes that she had collected as proceeds from a charity gala when her parents' house was broken into. It's not the trauma she remembers, but the anger at finding someone who stole a pot with the foundation's distinctive logo.

Today she supports the BHF's partnership with Omaze, an American not-for-profit fundraising company that has donated £ 100m worldwide, including £ 4m in the UK, since its inception in 2012. The UK Arm of Los Angeles The Cheshire-based company handed over a £ 1 million Cheshire home to a UK winner last month after a similar partnership with the Teenager Cancer Trust. Now there is the £ 3 million London house to be won in the new competition. Omaze has committed 80 percent of the net sales to the BHF. The winner will not have to pay any delivery fees or stamp duty and will receive a deposit check for £ 10,000.

Penny says, “Those who get it can sell, rent, or live in luxury after helping raise funds for the British Heart Foundation. It's a win-win situation. & # 39;

She has a special reason to be grateful to the charity. Her father Graham, a retired city attorney, is one of 1.4 million Britons who have survived a heart attack. (Even before the pandemic, heart disease caused more than a quarter of deaths in the UK, killing someone every three minutes and making those more susceptible to Covid-19.)

"When I got the call, I felt my whole world being turned upside down," she says of her father's heart attack. “Papa was an ox – the protector, the strong one, to whom you turned. He had always taken care of himself and pumped iron.

& # 39; But he still developed heart disease. He had keyhole surgery where the surgeon literally held his heart – his life – in his hand. Physically he recovered, but mentally it took longer. & # 39;

For Penny, the trauma coincided with the discovery of Rod's fast-growing prostate cancer.

They kept the 2017 diagnosis a secret from their sons and only told them "when there was a happy ending". Speaking of the impact on Penny herself, she says, “I rated Rod positively, but there were moments of panic. Our tenth wedding anniversary wasn't just a renewal of our vows – we affirmed our strength as a couple and got through together. Nobody else knew that day. & # 39;

And now? & # 39; It's all good. Rod undergoes blood tests every three months to monitor his hormone levels. His testosterone, the food for prostate cancer, has been suppressed, it has shrunk the cancer, you can't tell at all. & # 39;

She takes great pride in the fact that he's open to what he's been through.

"Rod firmly believed he wanted to be honest," reveals Penny.

"If Rod Stewart, Da Ya, think I'm sexy, the man on stage with women throwing their underwear at him can say," Yeah, I had prostate cancer. Yes, I had the doctor's finger up my bum, but I can talk about it, "then all men should be able to."

Penny applies the same principle to her own life ("I'm raw, honest, transparent") and announces in the summer that she has reached menopause in the middle of lockdown – at first she thought the hot sweat and restlessness were symptoms from Covid – 19. But now she says: “My periods have returned. Apparently I'm not there yet. & # 39;

She made up for her hormonally bad mood by hugging the outdoors with her dogs, Bubbles (a Cavapoo) and Lily (a Labradoodle rescued from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home), playing with her three pygmy goats, and caring for hers Chickens took care of. She had high hopes for pig farming and borrowed a pair to try it out.

& # 39; Ugh no! I found her aggressive, ugly, and smelly – not for me. But the goats, I adore them. & # 39;

The goats are wearing collars, and Penny hopes they are trained enough to go inside on Christmas Day to join Rod and the boy.

Like most of the country, she is excited for the New Year and for 2020 to 2021 to make way with the prospect of seeing friends and family again. It will also be the year she qualifies as a special police officer. Special cops are unpaid volunteers who use their free time to work as an officer for at least 200 hours a year – two eight-hour shifts per month. They wear the same uniform and have the same powers as regular officers.

Penny completed the physical tests – you can see her overpowering an instructor in an exercise on Instagram – received her uniform and medical treatment.

She describes her husband as the type of man for whom "problems are black and white, one or the other" and herself as the opposite – someone who is at the center and "thinks of every scenario and perspective".

She believes this ability to weigh and counterbalance – and be a mother too – will help her enforce the law with a gentle touch. And she can't wait to get started. "Rod's career comes first," she says. “I never felt that I could give back enough. On patrol, I feel like I can make a difference. & # 39;

In fact, if she's been an officer for 20 years as she plans, Rod would be 96 when she retires.

"He has always seen himself as a pillar of strength," she says. He sailed through cancer like it was a cold. Rod lets everyone else worry. While I will eventually retire, Rod never will. He'll still be alive kicking soccer balls. & # 39;

  • You can take part in the Omaze Million Pound House Draw in support of the BHF at omaze.co.uk

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