A STALWART of amateur theatre has died after a minor stroke.

Cynthia Sanderson, 75, had been due to receive an award for 60 years’ service to local theatre companies on Friday, but died overnight last Thursday.

Earlier in the week she had been in hospital after a minor stroke, but was discharged on Wednesday to the Todmorden Road, Burnley, home she shared with husband Colin.

The couple are both well known members of Burnley Light Opera Society, and Cynthia’s last performance was in The Garrick’s production of Calendar Girls at the ACE Centre, Nelson, in September.

Grandson Richard Sanderson said: “She had a great time doing that play - like any production, she threw herself into it.

“She wasn’t a poorly lady, although she had been in hospital, but she died in her sleep.

“She was still a serving member of several societies, although she didn’t do as much as she had.

“Cynthia was on the stage all her life and Burnley Light Opera Society was going to present her 60-year award after this Friday’s performance of Copacabana.”

Cynthia first appeared on stage with St Stephen’s society as a dancer, before moving on to BLOS, The Garrick, Colne Dramatic Society, Nelson Civic Theatre and Clitheroe Parish Church Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society over the years.

Richard added: “A local director once said to me ‘Your grandma doesn’t walk across the stage, she glides’. She always looked comfortable, was word perfect and was equally good at comedy or drama. Cynthia taught me an awful lot about stage craft.

“She was always a most elegant lady, and that’s what a lot of people will remember her for. Looking through some of her clothes the other day, my grandpa said ‘we’ll give these to the charity shop’, but instead we decided they will go to Pendle Hippodrome’s wardrobe store as many local society’s hire from them and it will be a great way to remember her, seeing her clothes back on stage.”

In 1997 she was mayoress, alongside her friend Enid Tate, and she was a member of the Towneley Hall Society with Colin.

A spokesperson for The Garrick, with whom she had appeared in 26 plays, said: “From starring roles to supporting cameos, Cynthia always gave 100 per cent dedication to her contribution to the production. “Cynthia will be sadly missed for her unfailing good humour and gentleness.”

Cynthia’s funeral will take place at St Stephen’s Church, Oxford Road, Burnley, at noon on Friday.