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Tributes to 'inspirational' theatre boss

PUBLISHED: 10:04 30 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:33 02 May 2019

‘Players take to the streets’: Deanne Dickson, Roy Randall and Jenny Wright set out to galvanise public opinion on the refurbishment of the Marina as a theatre. Picture: Courtesy of Bob Dickson

'Players take to the streets': Deanne Dickson, Roy Randall and Jenny Wright set out to galvanise public opinion on the refurbishment of the Marina as a theatre. Picture: Courtesy of Bob Dickson

Archant

An "inspirational" theatre boss has been hailed for his revolutionary work with the Lowestoft Players.

Roy Randall with the book's author Bob Dickson. Picture: Stephen WilsonRoy Randall with the book's author Bob Dickson. Picture: Stephen Wilson

Roy Randall passed away aged 94 earlier this month after a short stay at the James Paget Hospital.

After joining the Lowestoft Players in the 1970s, Mr Randall would go on to become business manager and, later, chairman.

Along with his late wife Avril, the pair began their long involvement with amateur dramatics in Diss in 1959, when she joined the Phoenix Players and continued through moves to Dereham and, ultimately, Lowestoft.

Stephen Wilson, chairman of the Lowestoft Players, said: “I knew him for 45 years. Him and his wife moved from Dereham to Lowestoft and because his wife as a big musical theatre performer, he joined our society and very quickly became our business manager, and a couple of years later he became chairman.

“He was a breath of fresh air, and an inspirational leader that moved us forward.

“He would always encourage us to get more and more involved and he was an inspiration to all of the younger members.

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“In many ways, he is the person that made us what we are today.

“He lived to a great age. Him and his wife moved away from the area when he retired but they loved Lowestoft so much that they soon returned.

“Even a few months ago he has been along to support us.”

Historian Bob Dickson, who wrote 'The Lowestoft Players at 50' to mark the Players' Golden Jubilee, echoed the tributes to Mr Randall.

The book details how Mr Randall became chairman in 1978 with the aim of building up the group's bank balance to £30,000 as a contingency for the shows, a feat which was achieved within around six years.

Mr Dickson said: “For many years Roy was the Players. With Avril, he was the main reason the society developed the social cohesion and business sense that enabled us to last for 50 years.

“Both were necessary for that feat.”

Shortly before Mrs Randall's death in 2015, the duo were presented with their National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA) Gold Awards for 50 years of continuous service, the only two the company has awarded so far.

A service to celebrate his life will take place at the Methodist and United Reformed Church, Hungate, Beccles, at 3.30pm on May 3. Mr Randall's family have requested bright colours and no flowers, but donations can be made in his memory to the Lowestoft Players and the East Suffolk Association for the Blind.

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