Trib­utes paid to cel­e­brated doll maker

Macclesfield Express - - YOUR VIEWS - ABIGAIL O’LEARY

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.

In Lon­don

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

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