Tributes to popular amateur actress Barbara Mitchell-Davidson
TRIBUTES have been paid to a committed and “well-loved” amateur actress who has died at the age of 69.
Barbara Mitchell-Davidson was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of May and died in Bury Hospice on August 9, just days after being admitted.
A keen member of Whitefield Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society (WAODS) and Prestwich Amateur Dramatic and Operatic Society (PADOS), Mrs Mitchell-Davidson appeared in many plays and musicals over a period of 54 years.
Joining WAODS at 15, and first performing in Gypsy Baron in 1960, she was president between 1998 and 2008 and was also social secretary, marketing manager and on the management committee.
Mrs Mitchell-Davidson served on the PADOS fundraising and ladies committees and she was elected assistant secretary in 1967 and secretary in 1975.
Her younger sister Hazel Smith, of Prestwich, said: “She was a bubbly person, always full of life, and absolutely loved her dramatics.
“She was a loving sister, mother, grandmother, aunt and great aunt.
“Even as a little girl she did ballet and tap dancing and was clearly born to be a performer — she was also a ‘Redcoat’ at Butlins in the 1960s. She had many friends and her death has been a shock for us all.”
Mrs Mitchell-Davidson, who was divorced, lived in Prestwich all her adult life and is survived by daughter Dee Olney, of Peterborough.
Her mother and father owned a grocer’s shop in Whitefield — the town where she worked as an administrator until her retirement.
She also leaves a brother-in-law, two granddaughters, a niece and nephew and a great-niece and great-nephew.
Current WAODS president Jackie Kay, who took over from Mrs Mitchell-Davidson as president in 2009, said: “Barbara always came to every show we ever did and was an absolutely lovely girl.
“She was a very attractive lady, superb on stage and she always gave as much help as she could to the people she was acting with.
“Quite often people act for themselves when they are on stage but Barbara was completely reactive.
“She would always act with you and she was smashing.
“Her funeral was absolutely packed — she was so well-known and well-liked.”
Mrs Mitchell-Davidson was presented with her National Operatic and Dramatic Association long service award celebrating 50 years of taking part in am-dram productions in 2010.
As well as musicals, she appeared in many plays — one of her last productions being Calendar Girls in October 2012, in which she played two cameo parts.
For these roles she won the PADOS Best Onstage Female Award and was nominated for most original comedy performance in the Association of Community Theatre awards.
WAODS member Graham Holmes said: “She spread a great deal of happiness and gave a lot of pleasure to her audiences.
“She was a well-loved friend to all her fellow ‘am-dram’ enthusiasts in WAODS & PADOS.”
Over the years Mrs Mitchell-Davidson also appeared in pantomime many times with Besses United Reformed Church Ladies Players She always played the dame, entertaining several generations of children in magnificent costumes she made herself.
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