A leading light of the theatre who worked with skill and enthusiasm both as a performer and behind-the-scenes has died, aged 77.
Christine Hayhurst was a wholehearted supporter of the Grand Theatre and Lancaster Footlights for 33 years.
In that time, Christine turned her hand to all aspects of Footlights life – from performer to stage manager to membership secretary.
Known as Chris for short, she was born on December 29 1936 in Idle, Bradford to Reginald and Florence Foster. The family moved to Morecambe to run a large boarding house on Clarendon Road in 1940.
She attended West End Primary School and passed the 11+ to go to Morecambe Grammar School a year early. Then in 1949 she moved to Thirlmere Drive, Morecambe after the thriving civilian boarding house business was sold. This was when she first met future husband Carl, who lived opposite. They married in 1961.
Chris had a number of jobs including trainee assistant stage manager at the Royalty Theatre in Morecambe, a comptometer operator at Williamsons and then at the library at Lancaster Moor Hospital, which led to her working at Morecambe Library.
She joined Morecambe Little Theatre Group and appeared in many plays in Morecambe and at drama festivals throughout the North West as a member from the 1950s to the ‘90s.
Then in 1981 she joined Lancaster Footlights and played her first part in ‘Deathtrap’ in 1984. Since 1987 she was on the Grand Theatre board of management on many occasions, marketing the Grand from 1991 until about 2005.
She was editor of the Footlights newsletter Footnote from 2003 to 2011 and membership secretary from 2004 to 2011, and was involved in the administration of the Grand’s seat sponsorship scheme for its beginnings until her death.
Chris also worked on the box office during the evenings, organised rotas and trained staff from the inception of the computerised system until declining health caused her to cease a couple of years ago.
She leaves Carl, her husband of 53 years, her children Alison, Simon and Graham and her grandchildren Zoe, Amy, Timothy, Abigail, Thomas, Joseph, Samuel, Chloe, Mona and Tess.