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Guest Character Profiles > Kathy Carpenter Tina Bursill

Kathy Carpenter 2014
Marital Status: Lou Carpenter (divorced)
Children: Guy and Lauren
Family Tree: Carpenter
Occupation: Homewares Business Owner

Lou Carpenter’s first wife, Kathy, had a lot to put up with from her husband. Although he was a successful car dealer and entrepreneur, and they had two healthy children, Guy and Lauren, Lou had two critical flaws. One was his dedication to his business’ and “the next big deal”; the other fault was his roving eye for the ladies. These two combining factors caused their marriage to end in divorce. Lou later relocated to Erinsborough, while Kathy remained in Queensland, becoming a successful businesswoman in her own right with a chain of homewares stores. In the early 90s, both Guy and Lauren spent time living with their father, but in early 1994, Lauren returned home, confiding in her mother that she was pregnant to her ex-boyfriend Brad Willis - who had since married Beth Brennan and moved away from Erinsborough himself. Kathy kept her daughter's secret, but was sure that becoming a young, single mother would ruin Lauren's life, so she tried to encourage her to think about adoption. As Lauren contemplated the idea, Kathy even arranged an illegal adoption with a private doctor in the town of Maleny.

When the time came for Lauren to give birth, Kathy took her to the doctor's clinic rather than a hospital, where Lauren was seriously ill and her newborn daughter wasn't breathing and was taken away for treatment. When Lauren awoke and asked if her daughter was gone, Kathy had already arranged for the couple to adopt the child, and Lauren was left believing that her little girl had died. Although she never forgot her daughter, Lauren quickly moved on, going to stay with friends in Mount Isa, where she met Matt Turner. They were soon married and Lauren gave birth to a son, Mason. Kathy, meanwhile, came to regret her hasty actions and tried to track down her granddaughter, but learnt that the doctor, her only link to the illegal adoption, had since died and, with no other information, Kathy had to give up.

Twenty years later, old memories came flooding back when Lauren once again found herself living on Ramsay Street with Brad Willis in the house opposite. For many months, she struggled to keep her feelings hidden, and at Christmas, she confided her secret to Lucy Robinson. Lucy encouraged Lauren to unburden herself and be honest with both Brad and Matt, and when neighbour Georgia Brooks suffered a miscarriage, Lauren decided that she needed to open up to the two men. During this time, Lauren had also been calling her mum a lot, and when Kathy heard that Lauren was planning to tell Matt about the baby she lost, she rushed down from Queensland for a visit. Kathy did her best to discourage Lauren from causing potential harm to her marriage, but Lauren was determined and Kathy was eventually forced to be honest herself, telling her daughter that the baby had actually survived. Kathy tried to justify her actions, but Lauren was disgusted, unable to comprehend how her mum could allow her to suffer like this for so long, and threw her out of the house.

Believing that Kathy had gone, Lauren was surprised to learn from Terese that she was actually staying at Lassiter's, hoping that she still might be able to fix things. Lauren went to see her mum and again told her to get out of town, making it clear that she couldn't forgive her for this. Having realised that his animosity towards Kathy had all been down to a mix-up - he hadn't recognised her at Lauren and Matt's wedding, and she'd thought that he was blanking her, so did the same thing to him later in the day - Lou also visited Kathy, trying to get her to leave. She made it very clear that she needed to find some way to make up for her mistake, and couldn't simply leave town without trying. Kathy then managed to make matters worse when, after learning that the grandma was still in town, Amber and Bailey were surprised to see how upset she was, and she told them everything. Lauren was furious, and she and Matt, and the Willises, had agreed not to say anything to the kids just yet. With relations at an all-time low, Kathy spotted a chance to make life a little easier for the Turners, when she overheard Lou talking about them renting their house. Kathy got in touch with Lucas, the owner of number 32, and made him an offer, before telling an incredulous Lauren and Matt that she'd bought the house for them.

Though the Turners immediately turned the offer down, Lou felt that maybe they were cutting off their nose to spite their face, pointing out how much easier life would be without the rent to worry about. He visited Kathy and they all came to a compromise, in which Kathy would buy the house for her grandchildren, with Lauren and Matt acting as the adult trustees. Matt and Lauren accepted this idea, and Lauren went to see her mum and said that this couldn't make up for what she'd done. Kathy agreed that she'd failed her daughter and apologised again, and Lauren told her mum that she was only accepting the house on the condition that Kathy leave and stay away. Kathy then told a tearful Lauren that, if she ever decided to search for her daughter, she'd do anything in her power to help. Later that day, Kathy said goodbye to Bailey and Lou, and left Erinsborough.

A few months later, Kathy sent an expensive telescope to Bailey, and he was forced to hide it at 24 Ramsay Street, worried that Lauren wouldn't let him keep it if she found out. Bailey confided in Paige Novak, a newcomer to town who'd started working at Harold's, and unbeknownst to the Turners and Willises, was actually Brad and Lauren's long-lost daughter, who was biding her time until she revealed her identity. Having found out bits and pieces about her real parents, Bailey unwittingly gave her the final piece of the puzzle when he told her about Kathy's involvement in the illegal adoption. Meanwhile, when Lauren found out about the telescope, she decided that perhaps it was time that Kathy was allowed to see her grandchildren again, and so she invited her to Erinsborough. With barely time for Lauren to gather her thoughts, Kathy then turned, delighted to have another chance with her family, but aware that there was still a lot of talking and healing to do. Meanwhile, Paige also met Kathy and was beginning to plot her revenge on the woman who'd changed the course of her life. When she learnt that Kathy was planning to open a branch of her homewares business in Erinsborough, she offered to help, claiming that she had an interest in Kathy's business model.

Though surprised by Paige's interest in, Kathy was immediately impressed by the young woman's commitment to helping her, and challenged her to learn about the business. Kathy also managed to start mending her relationship with Lauren, as mother and daughter finally sat down and spoke about everything, and Lauren was relieved to learn that Kathy had given a small teddy bear to the doctor, to be given to the baby. Lauren had a matching bear, and had always hoped that her child had that small token of her real mum. As things started to improve in that relationship, Kathy decided that she was going to do everything in her power to fix the mistake she'd made, and hired a private investigator to find the 'missing' daughter of Lauren and Brad. Paige's plan to get closer to her grandmother also presented her with more information, when she spotted Kathy taking some pills, and the older woman admitted that she had a heart problem - which is what had prompted her to try to patch things up with her family. As she and Kathy then went through some paperwork, Paige was then alarmed to find out about Kathy's private investigator, realising that her secret was now very close to being exposed. After considering what to do, Paige decided to try and talk Kathy out of it, claiming that she was worried for Lauren, who was only just getting over the disappointment of not being able to find her daughter and didn't need any further stress. Kathy, however, felt that it was none of Paige's business and it wasn't long before she heard from the investigator with news that he'd found her missing granddaughter - a girl named Megan Dennison from Canberra.

Aware that Megan had to be a fake, Paige tried to invite herself to Kathy's first meeting with the girl, but Kathy insisted that she had to do this on her own. When Megan arrived, she told Kathy about her hobby of making jewellery and her ways of dealing with her abandonment issues, but it wasn't long before Paige turned up with an excuse to speak to Kathy. Paige then hung around until Kathy went to the bathroom, and grabbed the opportunity to get Megan alone, warning that she knew what was going on. She suggested that they go for a little walk together, and Kathy was surprised to find that Megan had gone, and to later get a text from her saying that their meeting had been a mistake.

It wasn't long before Kathy started to wonder about Paige and the odd connection that she'd been forming with Lauren. Determined to find out what Paige was hiding, Kathy decided to try and spend some time with her, asking if she'd like to join her on a visit to a supplier. When Kathy then found herself alone at number 24, whilst waiting for Paige, she found Paige's bag and started searching through it - surprised to find a school photo of Paige from Adelaide. In the car, Kathy stopped outside Grease Monkeys and sent Paige inside for coffee, taking the opportunity to have another look in her bag. This time she found Paige's sketchbook, with drawings of all of the members of the Willis and Turners families, along with one of Kathy titled 'Grandma Witch'. Her suspicions of Paige's true identity now confirmed, Kathy confronted her as she returned to the car, only to suffer a heart attack. Kathy was shocked to realise that Paige had her pills - stolen in moment of madness the previous day - and, panicking, she started the car, desperate to find Lauren and tell her the truth. Unfortunately, she accelerated straight into Toadie and, having earlier trapped her scarf in the car door, the accident caused Kathy to start being strangled. Paige came to her aid and she, Kathy and Toadie were all taken to hospital. As Kathy and Toadie recovered from their injuries, Paige realised that she had to get out of town, leaving the two matching teddy bears on Lauren's doorstep. As Lauren arrived home and finally realised that her daughter had been living across the street for the last couple of months, she frantically started looking for her, eventually managing to stop the bus she was travelling on. As Lauren and Brad came to terms with what had happened, Paige was surprised to find that they were very accepting of her, despite her deception, and that even Kathy was willing to make a fresh start with her new-found granddaughter.

As Kathy was released from hospital, and Lou returned from a trip to Cambodia, she was surprised to find that her family were starting to forgive her for her past actions, with even Lou reluctantly burying the hatchet. As Kathy then produced an old family recipe notebook and told of her plans to have it published, it brought everyone together, and Kathy was happy as Lauren even allowed her to stay overnight at the Turner house, rather than the hotel. Though it was good news for the Turners, it turned out to be bad for Naomi, who'd been excitedly preparing to start her new job managing Kathy's new store in Erinsborough. Feeling that she no longer needed an excuse to be close to her family, Kathy told Naomi that she'd ditched her plans to expand her stores to Victoria. A few days later, after enjoying some time with her family, Kathy heard that there was a problem with one of her stores in Queensland, and that she'd have to go home to deal with it. Following a family lunch - during which a nasty argument broke out between Amber and Paige - Kathy said her farewells and headed home, happy that Lauren and her daughter had been reunited, and that she'd finally managed to make up for some of her mistakes from the past.

Trivia Notes
• Tina Bursill was credited as Kathy for episode 6929, but the character was only shown in a photograph on her website

Magic Moments
Episode 6836: Kathy's Confession: Part One
Episode 6837: Kathy's Confession: Part Two

6836, 6837, 6838, 6841, 6842, 6843, 6930, 6932, 6933, 6936, 6937, 6941, 6942, 6943, 6947, 6948, 6949, 6953

Biography by David