Sunday, 09 December 2018

Actors stage tribute after tragic death of colleague

Actors stage tribute after tragic death of colleague

A MURDER mystery dinner was staged by an amateur dramatic group in Shiplake in memory of a former member and resident.

The Shiplake & Dunsden Dramatic Organisation (Shaddo) 
welcomed 100 guests to the show in memory of Frederick Lawson, whose body was recovered from the River Thames two weeks after he went missing in April.

Mr Lawson, 82, had been involved with the organisation since its inception in 2000 as a performer, director and supporter.

He also helped with stage, set and scenery construction, hosted social events, was on the Shaddo committee and staffed its stalls at various village events. In recent years, he and his wife Beryl regularly took responsibility for managing all aspects of front of house.

His daughter, Jane Lawson-Mudge, performed with the group for the first time on Saturday evening at Shiplake Memorial Hall.

Diners were served a three-course meal and had the chance to quiz the “suspects” during the five-act performance.

At the end, Baroness Bliekhardt, played by Hilary Tucker, was exposed as the murderer.

Mrs Lawson-Mudge, who played Romany Geremov, thanked Shaddo members and helpers for staging the performance. She said: “None of us had the opportunity to say ‘goodbye’ to Dad in the way that friends and families would wish, so being invited to share in something that he loved so much, with the people that brought such fun and enrichment to his and Mum’s life, was an absolute privilege and gave us the chance to send him on his way with a hearty round of applause ringing in his ears!

“They say that you never know a person until you have walked in their shoes but being on the stage and sharing the butterflies and ever-so slight feelings of terror behind closed curtains with the members of this very special cast will stay with me always. It brought back timeless and priceless memories of watching Dad on and off the stage and reignited the adrenaline and magic that being on a stage can bring... a shared feeling of being in the moment and of being alive.”

The event raised £2,000 for the Rainbow Trust, which supports families with a seriously ill child.

Mrs Lawson-Mudge said: “Supporting a children’s charity like the Rainbow Trust is exactly what Dad would have wanted — he was forever young at heart!”

Shaddo member Gareth Jones, who played investigator Dr Jock McClew, said: “Fred had a very strong am-dram past and he was very supportive of myself and others who were taking the society forward. He was an great guy so we wanted some sort of tribute.

“Fred was so positive. I can’t remember him ever criticising anything and our standards are not the highest! In virtually every production we did he would have a role helping and he and Beryl would be there giving encouragement.”

Organisers thanked the hall committee for free use of the building, the Baskerville and Plowden Arms pubs, both in Shiplake, for raffle prizes of meals and Sharon Hearn, of Absolute Delights Catering.

Shaddo members donated two hampers as prizes along with six bottles of wine as well as performing. They also paid to attend.

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