Bridport mourns the passing of arts centre founder who created the Bridport Prize

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Peggy Chapman-Andrews has died aged 92 Peggy Chapman-Andrews has died aged 92

TRIBUTES from the arts community have been pouring in for Peggy Chapman-Andrews MBE who died aged 92.

It was Mrs Chapman-Andrews dream to have a theatre in Bridport and she almost single-handedly set up the Bridport Arts Centre in 1973 and later as a fundraising venture the now internationally acclaimed Bridport Prize.

Current arts centre director Polly Gifford said her passing was truly the end of an era.

She said: “What is really remarkable is that she sustained her passion for over so many years.”

She loved the excitement of the theatre and had a dream for the town to have its own venue.

She is recorded as saying: “One of my daydreams was to win the pools so I could build a proper theatre for Bridport.”

She didn’t win the pools but set about ensuring her dream came true anyway – the story of legend is she locked the arts society committee in a room until they agreed to take on the challenge.

Frances Everitt who is now the Bridport Prize co-ordinator said she was a truly amazing person.

She said: “She never sought the credit for her achievements, she was very modest and really she had a lot to shout about.”

She was renowned for her persuasiveness and got John Fowles to be the prize’s first patron.

Later in the summer the arts centre will be running an event in her honour.

Great friend Coun Sandra Brown said: “We wouldn’t have the arts centre if it wasn’t for Peggy.

“ She was just so much a part of Bridport.

“She always said being an honorary townswoman meant more to her than getting the MBE.

“She will be much missed.”

Her funeral will be a private family service but the arts centre will hold an event in her honour later in the year.

She was an enthusiastic amateur thespian herself being involved with Bridport Operatic Society She was also an active campaigner for the Liberals and enthusiastic member of the Bridport Operative Society, starting its dramatic arm.

She also founded the Bridport Hospital League of Friends and was the first honorary townswoman.

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