Tributes paid to celebrated doll maker
A1 0 1 Y E A R O L D refugee who fled both the Russian Revolution and the Nazis before settling down in Macclesfield has died.
SaraDoggart spent most of her life in Bollington with her husband John.
Together they became responsible for the manufacture of ‘ Sasha Dolls’ in England, which today are desirable collectables, with some selling for up to £4,000.
Sara, a grandmother of five and a great grandmother of two, died on Monday, January 26.
Her son John, who now lives in London, said: “She died of old age at her care home in Mount Hall, but she had just had her porridge and it was all very peaceful.
“She loved her time at the care home and always got on with the staff, who were five star.”
The 101-year-old’s journey from Russia to London began in 1918 when Sara, nee Friedland, was five years old and her family escaped Communist Russia.
With precious family heirlooms sewn into Sara’s rag doll, they made the journey to Berlin where they lived for 13 years.
But in 1931 the family fled from the rise of Nazism in Germany, heading for London, where Sara, then aged 22, met her husband John.
the family business became a vital part of the war effort making parts for Spitfires and Lancaster bombers.
It was for this reason the family were moved on again, this time heading north to Bollington where the factory was at less risk of German attack.
John added: “Only
two people in the factory knew what they were making, in case the Nazis found out and bombed it.
“People would just go to work and have no idea what they were doing. But it does show that refugees work hard and sometimes they get successful businesses out of it.”
Sara has three children, John, Anna, and Miriam, who tragically died in a house fire at Sara’s home in Tytherington in 2005.
Speaking at Sara’s 100th birthday, Sara’s daughter Anna described her mum.
She said: “Sara has been through many difficult times but continues to be a determined and uncomplaining person.
“She is always interested in people and very loving and in return is very well loved.
“Maybe this is what has enabled her to have such a long and successful life.”
After the war, the family turned to making doorbells, Frido Footballs, which were endorsed by George Best, and Sasha dolls, which were very popular in the 1960s.
The dolls were designed by a Swiss artist, but the Friedlands managed to secure the licence to produce the dolls from their factory in Stockport until the family retired in 1986.
“Sewing and Knitting for Sasha’ – a website dedicated to Sasha dolls – paid tribute to Sara.
It read: “ll the Sasha and Gregor family here at Rose Cottage would like to send their condolences to the Doggart family and
Aalso send a message of thanks for their determination in producing such a wonderful doll that brings enjoyment and delight to so many.” Sara’s funeral is on Friday, February 13, at Macclesfield Crematorium at midday.
●● Clockwise from top: Sara with some of the Sasha dolls, with her husband John, and pictured as a girl
●● Sara Doggart has died at the age of 101