Carol was introduced to Chads by her future husband, Alan, whose parents had been members since the very early days. She was soon involved with everything, busy backstage, front of house and on numerous committees. She and Alan put enormous energy into running the theatre, devoting a great deal of time and energy to Chads. And so it always was: she would turn her hand to anything, as the picture below testifies.

Both Alan and Carol loved to welcome new members and soon made them feel at home not least by roping them in to make an active contribution. Carol was particularly adept at persuading newcomers to participate.

Carol’s day job was at Cheadle Hulme School where she was a senior member of the admin team. She is remembered as personable, efficient and always interested in everyone. She brought her organisational skills to the theatre where she was secretary for many years and where she developed a super efficient system for managing props, using postcards. She contributed to productions in numerous ways and would make the most of her time, knitting furiously as she prompted rehearsals, the click clack of her needles resounding through the auditorium.

Carol was an efficient member of the front of house team for many years. She had few problems organising rotas for teas and house management roles, mainly because she did not easily take no for an answer. One needed a pretty urgent reason to turn her down.

Carol seems to have preferred the roles which kept her out of the limelight. The archives show that, as well as props and prompt she sometimes helped with wardrobe and décor and was, occasionally, assistant stage manager. Long standing members will remember that after show parties used to take place on the stage and here is Carol, having fun, on the set of The Rattle of a Simple Man, a show which she had prompted.

Through the theatre, Carol and Alan made many friends and a group of them would travel annually to Scarborough to see the latest Ayckbourn.  They stayed in a quirky hotel where they made friends with the owners.  The Chads friends also enjoyed walks along the cliff paths but long walks were not to Carol’s taste – she preferred to stroll along the beach and have a paddle.  She did love to swim too, especially in rivers as we found out when she stayed with us in France.  Swimming, Scrabble and stopping the car every time Carol spotted a horse are our memories of that holiday.

For many of Chads older members, Carol and Alan were the essence of Chads, popular and well loved.  They were ever present and always helpful but in recent years, hearing loss made it difficult for Carol to take part in group conversations and discussions so she was unable to contribute actively to the theatre’s activities.  She was, however, an enthusiastic member of our audience and always contributed generously to our fund raising efforts.  We will miss her visits, her friendly smiles and the wealth of knowledge she had about the theatre’s history.  

Ann Quaife

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