Within the short span of less than a month, we are again greatly saddened to report the sudden death of another former member of Ottershaw Players, Jane Walters. As many were aware, Jane had been under treatment for a cancerous condition, but had been responding satisfactorily to previous medication and was maintaining good spirits up to the very abrupt, and unexpected end. The Players extend their sincere condolences and sympathies to husband Wally (another OP’s “alumnus”), to his and Jane’s extended families, and especially to Lynne, another of our OP “family”.
From a personal point of view, I first became aware of the dramatically talented Jane Lightfoot (as she was then) in early 1970’s, when she won Best Actress at the 1974 Woking Drama Festival in the runner-up production of “The Collector”, directed for Byfleet Players by Wally Walters. ( My production of “Transcending” by David Cregan had taken the Winners award by just one mark over “The Collector”, which had been penalised for a time overrun!) Jane went on to enjoy many successes over the years in Drama festivals around the country, both in acting and directing roles, as well as being a regular , much admired and praised, actor in major productions with Byfleet Players, Ottershaw Players , and latterly, Runnymede Drama Group.
Among a number of OP productions at Rhoda McGaw, Jane’s direction of “ Tom Jones” in 1988, and her performance in our production of Peter Nichols’ “Passion Play” in 1987, stand out in my mind. And Jane was a stalwart performer in some of the earlier Players’ “Farragos” – ship’s cook on the Thames cruiser in “Maidenhead Revisited” was a classic!
As a professional drama teacher, Jane was always willing to share her knowledge and skills training with us “amateurs”, and helped us improve our own performances, as she has helped countless hundreds (thousands?) of youngsters to enjoy creating , performing and learning about drama and theatre. These skills, and the lady herself, will be greatly missed by many.
There will a service on Friday May 13th, 12:15 at St Mary Magdalen Parish Church, Ripley High Street
Hon . President Ops.