Death of Trawden actor Eric

Eric Fothergill (S)
Eric Fothergill (S)

A skilled actor who has played key roles in musicals and plays in Pendle has sadly died after being ill.

Eric Fothergill (79) from Trawden had been unwell for a long time – over three years – and had been in and out of hospital over the years. On Sunday he died very quickly, saddening his family and friends.

Eric’s funeral takes place on Monday. It starts at Helliwells Chapel of Rest in Colne at 11am and at Skipton Crematorium at 11-40am.

He was brought up in Nelson and attended schools including Nelson Secondary Technical School at Edge End.

He became an apprentice plumber, but then ended up in the RAF for a while.

When he returned for the forces he again worked as a plumber, but then went to Rolls-Royce in Barnoldswick where he was a welder. And he stayed there for decades, until retiring early after being becoming ill.

Back in 1954, he joined Nelson theatrical group – St John’s Operatic Society. His first appearance was in the show “Brigadoon”. He also worked with Nelson’s Freelance Society, another musical team.

He then appeared in lots of shows and played loads of key roles. He was lead as Fagin in “Oliver” in the 1980s, Emile in “South Pacific” and Sweeney in “Sweeney Todd”, for example.

It was mostly musicals he was in but he also appeared in plays sometimes. He was a keen dog-walker, and once appeared with his beloved dog Brandy in a play.

More recently, he has set up staging for performances, and he was presented with a 50-year service medal back in 2004.

Back in 1958, he married his wife Barbara at St Stephen’s Church in Burnley. They lived in Lancaster Gate, Nelson, before moving to Trawden 16 years ago.

Mrs Fothergill said: “I myself joined St John’s choir and played piano for them, so we have done it together.”

They had two children - Anne and Graham – and then four grandchildren: Jack (17), Laura (15), Rebecca (18) and Luke (16).

And Mrs Fothergill said: “I am greatly saddened by Eric going and I will miss him an awful lot. He was a lovely husband, father and grandfather. To us, Eric was a wonderful star in musicals.”