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Frances Guthrie
Frances Guthrie

Colin Pinney writes:

I regret to announce that our long-standing member Frances Guthrie has died after an illness of some weeks. Tributes were read at her funeral at the New Southgate Crematorium on Wednesday 26 August 2020, with attendance limited to 30.

Frances joined the Shakespeare Reading Society some 25 years ago and made a notable contribution with her readings which were always carefully prepared. Recent parts included the title role in Romeo and Juliet [presumably Juliet] and Anne in Richard III.

Before this Frances had a distinguished career in the professional theatre, which began with her playing Wendy in Peter Pan at the Scala Theatre. Her many TV film and stage appearances included the TV series The Remarkable Mr Pennypacker

Frances was also secretary and treasurer of the Walter de la Mare Society where Giles de la Mare described her as a tower of strength and source of knowledge.

Tributes below are in alphabetical order of surname of contributor.

Violetta Barzankian-Kaydan

So sorry to hear of her passing, what a lovely lady. Best regards

Chris Cummins

I'm very sorry to hear that Frances has passed away. I remember her well. Like Carrolle I was unaware that she was so ill. God Bless her. May she rest in peace and rise in Glory. Best wishes to you all.

Penelope Dudley

I wish I had known. I will really miss her as well as her readings and her presence at SRS and on the tube journey as we used to chat some of the way travelling home. Can I please get a copy of the memorial speeches order of service

Roger W. Haworth

She will be sadly missed. I found this image of her playing Wendy in 1956.

Carrolle Jamieson

I'm gutted! Did not realise she was so ill. Frances has left us so many good memories, God Bless her, may she rest in Peace, and rise in Glory. Love to all.

Jane l’Epine Smith

I am so sad to hear about Frances. She was my first “heroine” having been around four when I saw her play Wendy in Peter Pan at the Scala Theatre. I wanted to be Frances Guthrie. When I joined the SRS and met her it was just joyous and for me she will always be “my Wendy”. And for me she always will be “still flying”.

My love to everyone.

Carolyn Lyle

So sorry! Such a sweet lady.

Hayward Morse

Very sorry to hear of Frances' passing. I didn't know her well but I remember enjoying meeting her and reading with her on the occasions when I was able to get to the society's meetings. She seemed a very cheery soul and I'm sure she will be greatly missed. My condolences to all who were close to her,

John Ronayne

I too am grieved to hear of Frances' death. Along with her charm and cheerfulness, her bright accuracy in our readings was exemplary.

Roger Sansom

I am very saddened to hear of Frances's death.

I suppose it never arose for me to mention to her that I had seen her on stage. In 1960 and 1961 she played Marigold, the little girl who forms part of Milne's framing device for Toad of Toad Hall. I went to it in the West End each Christmas season for several years, and have the programmes.

She clearly used to play little girls at this stage, which one can imagine by visualising her younger. Another, not so innocent, young girl she played was in a story of particular interest to me (in fact, I re-read the book recently) - Frances was the wide-eyed but eventually-proved-deceitful Betty Kane in a television production of Josephine Tey's The Franchise Affair in 1958, which starred Alec Clunes as the solicitor Robert Blair.

Best wishes to all.

Tanya Winsor

Very sorry to hear of Frances Guthrie’s passing.

Frances was a beautiful Shakespeare reader and a lovely person. How lucky we are to have known her. Thank you for sharing some of her talented acting achievements, Frances never boasted or showed off and I wish I had asked more questions! Life is extraordinary!

Jessica Yates

I am also sad to hear of Frances' death, as we had many pleasant conversations in the social times when I learned of her career, though I don't think I saw her on stage.