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Special Features


RSC leads tributes to Sir Donald Sinden who has died, aged 90

SIR DONALD SINDEN, one of the towering figures of theatre, film and television in the post-war years – and a passionate champion of Shakespeare and Stratford-upon-Avon – has died at the age of 90. He had been suffering from prostate cancer and died at his home in Kent. His family described his death as “a huge loss”.  …

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Phil Hart: a life-long volunteer

THE death has been announced of Philip S Hart, or Phil Hart, as he was popularly known. Mr Hart moved to Stratford from Somerset in 1975 to take up the post of contracts co-ordinator at Stratford District Council (SDC). Immediately after coming to live in the town he volunteered at Tyler Street Youth Clubs and did almost 30 years’ service, finally becoming chairman of the committee until his health started to decline when he developed Parkinson’s Disease. …

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Diana Jaggard: lover of life and captivating teacher for 60 years

DIANA JAGGARD, who died last Friday at the age of 90, was a captivating teacher who served pupils in the Stratford area for some 60 years. The daughter of Sir Edward Salt, the Conservative MP for Birmingham Yardley from 1931 to 1945, she took a Froebel Degree, a modern form of child-centred education, at Roehampton University. The university was evacuated to Knebworth House during the Second World War and Diana completed a three-year course in two. …

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Stephen Pratt: former headmaster of KES

STEPHEN PRATT, who was headmaster of King Edward VI School, in Stratford, between 1963 and 1981 has died at his home in Chipping Campden. Born in Sussex, Mr Pratt, pictured left, came from a family of teachers and was educated at Worthing Grammar School for Boys. He won a History Scholarship to Hertford College, Oxford, in 1938, where his studies were interrupted by the Second World War. From 1940 he served with the Royal Artillery and by the end of the war he was engaged in Austria in the rehab…

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Jeffery Dench: a Shakespearean treasure

STRATFORD-upon-Avon lost a true Shakespearean treasure last week when veteran Royal Shakespeare Company actor Jeffery Dench died, aged 85. Born in Greater Manchester in 1929, Mr Dench has been described as the kind of actor who has made the RSC what it is today—having had a five-decade career on stage in Stratford. Mr Dench, who lived in Clifford Chambers, was the older brother of Oscar-winning actress Dame Judi Dench. And although he may not have always been centre stage his performances …

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Kate O’Mara: glamorous Dynasty actress from Long Marston

LONG MARSTON’S star of stage and screen Kate O’Mara, who started out working behind the scenes at the Royal Shakespeare Company, has died at a Sussex nursing home, aged 74. The actress, who became a household name for her role as Joan Collins’s screen sister, ‘Caress’ Morell, in the 80s soap opera Dynasty, had a great passion for acting and loved talking about the theatre. She had a long and successful career, appearing in cult television series such as Danger Man a…

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Louise Weatherhead: netball stalwart and tireless charity fundraiser

FRIENDS and supporters of Louise Weatherhead, who has died aged 62 following a long battle with cancer, turned out in force at her funeral. There was standing room only as over 300 mourners attended St Andrew’s Church, Shottery. A tireless fundraiser, volunteer and stalwart of Stratford netball, Louise Weatherhead was proud of her Stratford roots. She was born on 7th July 1951 at the Monroe Devis Maternity Hospital in Tiddington and grew up in Stratford with her parents, Bill and Betty Ro…

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John Winterburn: scientist and former SDC chairman

JOHN WINTERBURN, a former chairman of Stratford-on-Avon District Council, has died aged 84 after several years of battling leukaemia. Born in Leamington in 1929, as a child during the war he correctly identified a German bomber that had reached Leamington without detection. He ran for cover and alerted the adults he was with, but they did not believe a young boy and stood there arguing until they heard the bombs being dropped a few miles away. He later graduated from University College Leiceste…

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Brian Slaughter: dedicated fundraiser and former chairman of the SDC

BRIAN SLAUGHTER, a Bidford councillor for over 40 years and dedicated fundraiser, died peacefully of pneumonia on 28th January at Warwick Hospital. A former chairman of Stratford District Council, the 80-year-old, pictured right, lived in the district all his life, most recently in Ardens Grafton where alongside his wife, Clare, he was an active member of the community. …

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Percy Blandford – Newbold author, world-renowned boat designer, and Scout for 93 years

AUTHOR of over a hundred books and designer of hundreds of boats, the remarkable South Warwickshire centenarian, Percy Blandford, has passed away in his granddaughter’s arms aged 101. Known all over the world for his innovative naval architecture, the great-great-grandfather lived in Newbold-on-Stour for more than 60 years. Percy spent 101 years on earth, and ninety-three of those were in the Scout Movement. At 1pm today (Thursday 6th February), the scouts are holding a large funeral for h…

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