Villagers' plan to honour Ab Fab actress Dame June Whitfield following death
PUBLISHED: 18:30 10 January 2019 | UPDATED: 07:07 11 January 2019
Villagers bidding to create a community hub in the name of a legendary late comedian hope to honour acclaimed actress Dame June Whitfield following her death last month.
The Frankie Howerd OBE Trust last year revealed plans to build a ‘focal point’ for the people of Loxton and nearby villages, which would carry the name of storied performer Frankie Howerd – who lived in Cross until his death in 1992.
The project hopes to link ‘isolated’ elderly people with vital services, enabling them to stay in their homes.
The trust this week announced it intends to honour its former patron Dame Whitfield – the former Absolutely Fabulous actress who died on December 28 aged 93 – by pledging to name a room after her, if the project materialises.
The Carry On star was a close friend of Howerd and his partner Dennis Heymer, and in 2009 she became the president of the charitable trust.
Planning permission has been secured for the project, which will see a former blacksmith’s shop converted into a community facility featuring a café, kitchen, shop and space for activities – but the trust estimates it will cost around £250,000.
A grant of £20,000 has already been secured from the National Grid, however trust secretary Nigel Lincoln told the Mercury ‘further funding is needed to turn the dream into a reality’.
He said: “What many may not know, however, is she had a close link with this area.
“She was a very good friend of Frankie and Dennis and often came down to visit them.
“In fact, after Frankie’s death in 1992 she was still a regular visitor to the house until 2009 when Dennis died.
“On a personal level, she was such an accessible and down-to-earth actress.
“She was very interested in the trust and was truly delighted to be its president.
“She often phoned me to enquire how the Trust was doing and I would update her on our community hub project in Loxton.
“Therefore, as a mark of our respect and love for June, the trust has decided to name the community hub’s activities room The Dame June Whitfield Room.”
For more information on the trust’s project, log on to www.frankiehowerdobetrust.org