Cast ded­i­cate show to San­dra

Broad­caster pays trib­ute to former school head­teacher

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - News - By Joel Lamy Twit­ter: @PTJoelLamy

An am­a­teur dra­mat­ics cast ded­i­cated their re­cent per­for­mances to their former di­rec­tor who died sud­denly from leukemia aged 64. Am-dram stal­wart and exDea­con’s School head­teacher San­dra Samwell passed away on Mon­day, Septem­ber 5, the day be­fore Peter­bor­ough Oper­atic and Dra­matic So­ci­ety (PODS) be­gan­per­form­ingThe Rise and Fall of Lit­tle Voice at the Key The­atre.

San­dra had been t he show’s di­rec­tor un­til five weeks ago when she was di­ag­nosed with leukaemia, and her place was taken by Jen­nie Dighton.

Jen­nie said: “It was a ter­ri­ble shock when we heard her di­ag­no­sis. She was such a warm, lov­ing, en­cour­ag­ing per­son who saw the best in peo­ple.

“It was very dif­fi­cult on Mon­day night hav­ing to go to the the­atre and tell the cast whathap­pened. I want­edtodo the best we pos­si­bly could for San­dra and to do her proud.”

San­dra, who lived in New­bor­ough, was at Dea­con’s School for morethan25years be­fore mov­ing to The Hemel Hemp­stead School be­fore re­tir­ing. Jen­nieadded:“Youonly have to look at the things that peo­ple have writ­ten on Face­book­tosee­howwelllovedand re­spected she was.

“She di­rected all the Peter­bor­ough Play­go­ers’ plays in the last six to seven years. And three years ago when Peter­bor­ough Oper­atic and Dra­matic So­ci­ety started do­ing plays in Septem­ber­shedi­rected them.”

TalkS­PORT host Adrian Durham at­tended Dea­con’s and cred­its San­dra’s in­flu­ence for his ca­reer as a na­tional broad­caster

He said: “San­dra recog­nised very early on that my up­bring­ing had been very dif­fi­cult, and life at home for me was tough. She had a way of look­ing af­ter kids like me and mak­ing sure they had a chance of a good life be­yond school.

“She di­rected school mu­si­cals and en­cour­aged me to be part of them. The con­fi­dence I got from that took my life to another level. Even though she must have known I couldn’t sing a note, there I was on stage in front of a packed­school­hall blar­ing out songs­fromGod­spel­landGuys andDolls. Those great mem­o­ries will never leave me.

“I had very lit­tle proper adult guid­ance as a teenager, sheknewthatand­did­herbest tofillthevoid, even­vis­it­ingme at univer­sity up­north­tomake sure I was sur­viv­ing.

“I’m sure she helped a lot of kids in her ca­reer and I was lucky to be one of them. With­out herthereis nowayI’dhave the kind of life I have now.

“San­dra Samwell was a bril­liant teacher. But more than that she was a truly won­der­ful per­son who gen­uinely cared.”

San­dra­had­be­gun­writinga book about a rel­a­tive who was on the voy­age with Cap­tain Cook which saw the map­ping of NewZealan­dandAus­tralia.

Her­pass­ing­was­sud­de­nac­cord­ing to younger sis­ter Fiona Fairchild, who said: “I’ve had­so­many­out­pour­ings­from peo­pleabouthow­sheaf­fected their lives, past pupils that she had kept in con­tact with.

“She was in­cred­i­bly clever andlovede­v­ery­bodyand­help­ing peo­ple.”

Fiona and her chil­dren are San­dra’s sur­viv­ing rel­a­tives.

San­dra was also on the board of di­rec­tors at Thomas Dea­con Acad­emy which re­placed Dea­con’s. Thomas Dea­con Acad­emy Ed­u­ca­tion Trust CEO Julie Tay­lor said: “She was a very strong per­son but re­ally kind. She had very high stan­dards but she be­lieved ev­ery­body had some­thing cre­ative in them.”

San­dra Samwell at Dea­con’s School (above ) and with Peter­bor­ough Play­go­ers.

Ra­dio host Adrian Durham

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