SHELAGH Sandle, who was a former mayor, town councillor and prominent figure in the community of Stratford, died aged 77 at her home in Burntisland, Scotland after living with PSP, a rare form of Parkinsons, for some years.
Born Sheila Barton in Fillongley, north Warwickshire, in 1941 she was the eldest of four daughters and changed the spelling of her name from Sheila to Shelagh about ten years ago to correct an error her father made when registering her birth.
Shelagh lived in Stratford as a child, went to St Gregory’s Primary School and then St Peter’s Primary in Leamington and lived in various different towns in Warwickshire until she was 11.
In 1953 she moved to Newcastle-upon-Tyne where she lived for five years before moving to North London.
Shelagh spent her early adult life as a Catholic Sister in north-east England. But left the order to become a teacher in 1976.
She moved back to Stratford in 1985 and worked at Marie Corelli School from 1986 to 1996 as a teacher.
She then became post mistress at Shottery Post Office from 1997 to 2004 and was a landlady in the Clopton Estate then in Shottery for many years, offering lodgings to visitors including language school students and RSC actors.
Shelagh was a supporter of many local charities and causes, loved theatre, Shakespeare, Michael Palin and cooking.
When she was mayor (2010-2011) she campaigned for a reduction in plastic bag usage.
She was a director of Hylands House Care Home in Stratford, and active member of the local Catholic community in Stratford and Bidford and a well-loved member of St Joseph’s Parish in Burntisland which she moved to in 2016.
President of Stratford-upon-Avon Soroptimists in 2005, member of Stratford-based Second Thoughts Drama Group both on and off-stage and appeared in Toad of Toad Hall and The Memory of Water.
Shelagh was a former patron of The Orchestra of The Swan, a former director of The Buzz Community Centre in Henley Street.
Shelagh Sandle leaves behind sons Matthew Maran and Richard Sandle-Keynes (who is a teacher at The Willows Primary School in Stratford) and daughter Elizabeth Cass Maran, as well as grandchildren Hal and Dora.
Stratford Town Council clerk Sarah Summers paid this tribute: “Councillor Shelagh Sandle joined the Town Council in 2006 as a ward member for Guild and Hathaway. She was returned at the 2010 Parish Election and become mayor soon after. Shelagh served on the planning consultative committee and the finance and scrutiny committee but always did her best to serve on as many sub-groups and working parties as possible. She was a totally dedicated and active councillor and her lively interest in council affairs stayed with her, even when she moved to Edinburgh to be near her daughter in the latter part of her life.
Stratford’s current mayor, Councillor John Bicknell, said: “We were all shocked and saddened to hear of Shelagh’s death. She always said that her family and her faith were the most important things in her life, and our heartfelt condolences go to her children, Matt, Richard and Lizzie and her cherished grandchildren. We are gratified to hear that she will be coming home to Stratford for her funeral so that we can pay due respect to an extraordinary women who touched the lives of so many in such a positive way. Our thoughts are with her family and many friends during this very difficult time.”