Posted by Andy Clarke and Holly Bridgestock-Perris
On 11 September the world lost one its finest actors of screen and stage. Sir Donald Sinden died at home at the age of 90 following a prolonged battle with cancer.
The national press has given praise for his extensive work and his contribution to British acting. They have fully covered his career and extolled his acting successes over the past 7 decades.
Sir Donald will be remembered for his various stage appearances from comedy (There’s a Girl in my Soup, 1966-1973) to various Shakespearean characters in numerous film productions and, more recently, playing alongside Martin Shaw in BBC’s Judge John Deed.
Sir Donald’s funeral service was held at a small village church miles from the busy west end where he was a regular visitor. Friends and family gathered at St John the Baptist in Wittersham, near Tenterden in Kent to say farewell to the great man.
The Sindens are neighbours of ours and Sir Donald was a very popular and highly respected member of our community. Locally he will be remembered for his happy manner and friendly smiles in the High Street of Tenterden and surrounding villages. Quite often I would hear his distinctive voice booming across the aisles of our local Waitrose as he chatted with staff and other customers alike.
Sir Donald was also a supporter of local arts – he was patron of the Barn Theatre Company based at the Ellen Terry Barn Theatre at Smallhythe Place and supporter of Homewood School drama department who named their theatre after him.
He also supported the local community in many other ways. I remember well, one year, running into Donald at Stone village fair where he was master of ceremonies and resident judge and prize awarder – in his best Shakespearean theatrical voice presiding over best Victoria sponge and largest marrow. A delight to the ears!
As such, we were delighted to be asked by his son, actor and director Marc Sinden, if we could provide a hand-painted Curve Coffin for Sir Donald in the distinctive “Salmon and Cucumber” colours of the Garrick Club in London which Sir Donald frequented.
We are delighted that the story was covered by local press.