Tributes paid to gifted amateur dramatics group president
Max Hilton and Donna-Louise Bishop
- Credit: SUPPIED BY FAMILY
The president of a popular amateur dramatics group in north Norfolk has died aged 63 following a short illness.
Becky Hilton, of Aylsham, had been named lifetime president of Aylsham Players after being a member of the group for over 20 years, following in the footsteps of Geoff Ashworth.
Her youngest son Max described her as “gifted” and said she would be missed by many.
"Our lives were enriched by Becky’s warmth, joy and laughter,” he said.
“A gifted writer, actor, and director. She was a creative genius. My mum was a storyteller and much like her stories, we are left wanting more.”
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Before moving to Norfolk in 1999, Mrs Hilton was born in Croydon and first worked at the iconic London department store BIBA.
She moved into journalism and wrote for numerous publications including The Mid Sussex Times as a copywriter and The Leader in Burgess Hill as a feature writer.
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In East Anglia, she was most recently a duty manager for the innovative theatre company Curious Directive. She also worked as an occupational therapy assistant for Norfolk County Council, supporting young people with emotional problems.
In her spare time, she directed multiple pantomimes and dramas for the Aylsham Players, collaborating with each member of the cast and finding new ways to tell stories on stage.
She wrote numerous scripts, including her own versions of Cinderella, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, plus an original play titled The Pageant - a contemporary comedy about a beauty competition on the Norfolk Broads.
During her time on the stage, she played many characters from the magical Tinkerbell in the pantomime Peter Pan, to the macabre Mrs Sowerberry in the musical, Oliver.
In the wider community, she started the Pocket Theatre club at John of Gaunt Infant and Nursery school, on Hungate Street, building children’s confidence through light drama techniques. She also volunteered as an acting coach for the Shining Lights group at St John’s Church in the town, helping to nurture and develop local young talent.
Mrs Hilton organised several fundraising events for the local area, notably the carnival princess competition and the Oktoberfest-style German night at Aylsham Town Hall.
She also presented a Victorian music hall evening at Bure Valley School in 2003, raising £450 for the Friends association. The money was used to buy a state of-the-art sound system, enabling the school to host their own professional productions.
Over the years, she loved meeting new faces in Aylsham, making lifelong friends and sharing her love of theatre.
Chairman of the Aylsham Players Smudge Smith described her as generous and supportive.
He said: “Becky would always offer to help in any way that she could. From volunteering front of house, to directing a full-scale production, no job was too big or too small. She has given us so much support over the years and we will greatly miss her experience and counsel.”
Many people used social media to pay tribute to Mrs Hilton.
Aylsham High executive headteacher Duncan Spalding said: "[She] was such a lovely person and an amazing supporter of our school community."
James Fiddeman added: "[She] was so friendly and lovely and would always brighten up any room she was in."
And Mrs Fordham, of the music and drama department at Aylsham High, said: "[She] was so lovely, always so positive, warm and supportive. I remember her being so proud of [her sons] at school and I loved talking to her."
She leaves behind her husband Mark and sons, Daniel and Max.
To contact the family, please email Max Hilton at email@example.com