Titty lives again

Country Life Every Week - - A Walking Life -

For So­phie Neville, the world of Arthur Ran­some re­ally did come to life. In 1974, she ap­peared as Titty in the film of Swal­lows and Ama­zons (above right). ‘My fa­ther loved the books and passed them on to me,’ she says. ‘Like Ran­some, he lost his fa­ther very young and his so­lace was a clinker-built dinghy.’

As part of the cast­ing process, di­rec­tor Claude Whatham asked her what her favourite tele­vi­sion show was. Her re­sponse, ‘Blue Peter, be­cause they show you how to do things’, clinched the part. ‘The books do the same,’ she says, ‘and I think that’s one rea­son why chil­dren love them.’

The ad­ven­tur­ous, log-keep­ing Titty seems to have rubbed off on her: Miss Neville leads mounted sa­faris in aid of the Water­berg Trust in South Africa and recorded the rain-de­layed, ever-amus­ing film­ing in The Mak­ing of Swal­lows and Ama­zons (Lut­ter­worth Press).

Now pres­i­dent of the Arthur Ran­some So­ci­ety (www.arthur­ran­some.org.uk), which of­fers grants through the Ship’s Baby Fund for chil­dren to learn Ran­some-es­que ac­tiv­i­ties, she’s also a cham­pion archer—a skill she first learnt along­side the Ama­zon pi­rates.

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