Shock death of Burnley and Pendle theatre star Cynthia

Cynthia Sanderson

Cynthia Sanderson

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A FORMER Burnley mayoress and popular star of local theatre has died aged 75.

Cynthia Sanderson, who was the town’s mayoress in 1997, had a glittering stage career which spanned more than 60 years.

She was a well-known figure at Burnley Light Opera Society with whom she performed in seven different decades.

Cynthia danced, performed and directed plays and musicals for a host of local theatre groups throughout her life, including the Garrick and Nelson, Colne, Todmorden and Bacup dramatic societies.

She was due to be presented with a Diamond Long Service Award for 60 years with Burnley Light Opera Society this Friday. But before she could collect the honour she died peacefully at her home in Todmorden Road on Friday.

Her husband of 37 years, Colin (81), described her as having a “vitality for life”. He said: “Cynthia, through her stage work, knew a lot of people and through being Mayoress, too. She was very popular.

“She was very outgoing. But she was not noisy with it, she was just quietly confident.

“She took everything in her stride. She put her all into everything. Whatever she took on with any of the societies she made it her number one priority.”

A heartfelt tribute from the Garrick, where Cynthia was part of 26 productions including most recently “Calendar Girls”, read: “From starring roles to supporting cameos, Cynthia always gave 100% dedication to her contribution to the production. Cynthia will be sadly missed for her unfailing good humour and gentleness.”

As a youngster Cynthia started out at the Joyce Heap School of Dancing. She first appeared for Burnley Light Opera Society in 1953 as a dancer in a show called “The Dancing Years”.

During a dedicated career in theatre she played lead roles, choreographed and even directed productions for Burnley Light Opera and other societies.

She was on the Burnley Light Opera Society Committee and was due to collect her long service award from David Slater at the performance of “Copacabana” on Friday.

Colin said: “I think she felt thrilled to be getting an award. To have given so many years service is an incredible feat. She just had that vitality for life.”

Away from the stage, she was a keen gardener and had an interest in birds which led her to join the RSPB. An avid watercolour artist, Cynthia would indulge her passion for painting at an art class in Worsthorne.

Her funeral will take place on Friday at St Stephen’s Church, Oxford Road, at 12-15pm.

For more tributes to Cynthia, don’t miss Tuesday’s Burnley Express - and you can leave your own tribuite below...