Helen Lamb, the indomitable Englishwoman who dreamed up a summertime Brigadoon for the mentally and physically disabled when she created Camp Jabberwocky 58 years ago, died Friday just a day shy of her 97th birthday.
In the summer of 1953, Mrs. Lamb, a speech therapist from England, brought six children from the old Fall River Cerebral Palsy Training Center to spend July on Martha&apso;s Vineyard. In a leaky cottage on the Camp Ground of Oak Bluffs, she established what would become Camp Jabberwocky, the first sleepover summer camp for the disabled in the United States.
The creation of this camp, exceptional, in part, because its counselors and staff have always worked there for free, assures Mrs. Lamb an important place in the modern history of the Vineyard. But the strength of her character -- impatient and outspoken, by turns martial and full of laughing English fun -- was nearly as famous across the Island as the camp itself.
A complete obituary and tribute to Mrs. Lamb will appear in Tuesday&apso;s Vineyard Gazette.rthday.