Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Tributes to leading light of Ilfracombe theatre

14:22 22 January 2014

Pamela Beecham as Mrs Cropley in The Vicar of Dibley.

Pamela Beecham as Mrs Cropley in The Vicar of Dibley.

Archant

Family and friends mourn the loss of inspirational Pamela Beecham, who passed away last week.

Pamela Beecham during her most recent birthday trip to London with daughters Rosie and Lucy.Pamela Beecham during her most recent birthday trip to London with daughters Rosie and Lucy.

A former Tiller Girl who inspired a love of dance and the theatre in generations of Ilfracombe and North Devon youngsters has been fondly remembered.

Pamela Beecham, an enthusiastic and motivational part of the local theatre scene for more than 30 years, passed away aged 69 on Tuesday of last week following a battle with motor neurone disease.

A memorial service will be held at Pip and Jim’s Church in Ilfracombe on Monday at 2pm, followed by a committal at Barnstaple Crematorium for family and close friends. Donations in lieu of flowers will go to the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Fittingly, a celebration of her life will be hosted at the Landmark Theatre from 3-8pm, with all invited to wear something bright, share a memory, tell a tale, or perform a song.

Pamela Beecham as Cardanza in Robin Hood the Musical.Pamela Beecham as Cardanza in Robin Hood the Musical.

Dance was in Pamela’s blood and aged 17 she went to the Royal Academy of Dance to train as a dance teacher, going on to join the famous Tiller Girls dance troupe, appearing on television and performing in troupes and variety acts across the globe.

A born performer, Pamela was never away from a stage for long and on moving to Ilfracombe with husband Geoffrey and daughter Rosie in 1980, soon became a central part of the amateur dramatics scene.

The arrival of their daughter Lucy in 1982 didn’t prevent her that year from setting up Ilfracombe Pantomime Society. In the next 17 years she wrote all the scripts, new lyrics for songs, choreographed dances, directed, designed costumes and chose music for 15 original pantomimes.

Pamela also found time to write, direct or choreograph numerous Victorian week shows, Christmas shows and productions with Barnstaple Musical Comedy Society.

Pamela Beecham with Gracie.Pamela Beecham with Gracie.

She directed or choreographed a host of musicals with Studio Theatre and Small Pond Productions, leading to a winning partnership with Lee Baxendale for Oliver, Annie Get Your Gun, Hello Dolly, My Fair Lady, Me and My Girl, Mack and Mabel.

A highlight all seem to remember is her dance solo during a Christmas show, with a whirlwind of spins and kicks that put the rest of the cast to shame.

Geoff sadly passed away in 2002, and Pamela’s main focus was always her family, Rosie and Lucy, then her beloved grandchildren Luke and Gracie.

“There have been so many comments and messages made over the last week from people who have said mum inspired their love of dance, theatre, or career and life choices,” said Lucy on behalf of the family.

Pamela Beecham on stage in Europe during her dance career.Pamela Beecham on stage in Europe during her dance career.

“People mainly think of her as talented, strong, adventurous, loving, humorous and witty. Her legacy lives on in her family but also all the people she has inspired in the theatre.”

0 comments

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 12:35
Syria fundraiser organisers Jake Slee and Jumoké Fernandez at Bideford's Cafe Onboard venue.

Don’t miss ‘Syria’ at cafe Onboard this Saturday (August 27)

Read more
Yesterday, 09:06

South West Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust is expecting more than 10,000 calls over the bank holiday weekend.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:00
Roosting greater horseshoe bats. Picture: John J Kaczanow

Devon Wildlife Trust has teamed up with North Devon AONB for the project.

Read more
Thu, 15:34
RNLI lifeguards have been busy again in 2011 on North Devon beaches. PIC: RNLI.

RNLI lifeguards had a busy week as they rescued people from rip currents and dealt with several serious medical episodes on Croyde and Woolacombe.

Read more
Thu, 11:45
Flora Kyte, Ben Price, Ottelie Kuehne, Hannah Munro-O'Brien, Bethany Lee, Emily Yelland and Helena Reed celebrate top results at South Molton Community College. Picture: Matt Smart

Teenagers across the region opened their results today (Thursday), with more exceptional achievements for schools in the area.

Read more
Thu, 11:39

Mystery surrounds the circumstances as to how the man was found injured in the early hours after Hartland Carnival. Can you help?

Read more
Thu, 10:20
The Seamoor Unit has won a regional award

Seamoor Unit is named ‘best building under £2m’ at the Michelmores Property Awards

Read more
Thu, 09:38
MV Balmoral is welcomed to Bideford. Picture: Graham Hobbs

The vessel arrived in Bideford with 224 passengers as was greeted by the mayor and town crier.

Read more
Thu, 09:34
A pop-up night club transformed the Wrey Arms pub in Sticklepath, Barnstaple. Picture: Contributed

First pop-up club is held at The Wrey Arms with disco, lights and plenty of party spirit.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 22°C

min temp: 16°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications