Pendle theatre stalwart Freda dies

The late Freda Wilkinson. (S)

The late Freda Wilkinson. (S)

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Pendle’s theatrical and musical communities have been saddened to learn of the death of Freda Wilkinson, who has been actively involved with them over many years.

Although Freda’s first love was music, she has also been extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of the theatre.

In her younger days she had great fun touring with a concert party along with well-known local singers Cecilia Harrison, Geoffrey Lovett, Harry Philips and Jack Langtry. It performed all around the area and even ventured over the border into Yorkshire!

Freda (87) – who was originally called Hart – was involved with the Luther Greenwood Festival and sang competitively at many other festivals. She took leading roles with both St John’s Operatic Society and Colne Operatic Society.

Marilyn Crowther, from Colne Dramatic Society, said: “Freda had a wonderful operatic voice and was always keen to help and advise young singers.

“She guested on many occasions for Colne Orpheus Choir, which she enjoyed immensely. Towards the end of her singing career she gave a stunning performance in ‘The Sound Of Music’ and her superb rendition of ‘Climb Every Mountain’ brought the house down every night.

“Freda joined us at the Little Theatre where she proved to be a great comic character actress and although she was happy to help with the painting of sets and working backstage she was, on occasion, persuaded to perform a small yet ‘scene stealing’ part.

“She served on the committee at the theatre for many years and her contribution was invaluable. Freda had a bubbly personality and was always ‘up for a laugh’. “

And she said: “I remember many parties, especially at the home of our great friend Thomas Todhunter, where we never went home the same day we arrived! Happy Days. Her energy and enthusiasm were infectious and Freda will be greatly missed by her friends and family alike.”

Mrs Wilkinson had been married to the late William Wilkinson, a Colne butcher, and a highly-loved aunt. Born in Nelson, she lived in Colne but had more recently been in a Barrowford care home.

Her funeral will take place this coming Wednesday. It will start at William Hodgson and Sons Funeral Service at Stott House, Burnley Road, Colne, at 12-15pm and at Skipton Crematorium at 1pm. Donations can be made to the RNLI in her memory.