'Overcome and honoured' - Former mayor cast in new role with theatre

The new CSODS president Richard Leeds, left, receives the presidential badge from chairman Robin Taylor.

The new CSODS president Richard Leeds, left, receives the presidential badge from chairman Robin Taylor. - Credit: Supplied by CSODS

He has sold theatre programmes for years and even appeared on stage. 

And now Richard Leeds, from Cromer, has taken a leading role with Cromer and Sheringham Operatic and Dramatic Society (CSODS) - as its president. 

Mr Leeds, who with his wife Maggie ran Randalls Electrical in the town until their retirement three years ago, said: “When I received the letter inviting me to become the new president I was quite overcome and honoured.

"I have immense admiration for the work of the society and my parents met when it was called The Cromer and Sheringham Players and performed at the old town hall.

“I hope to get more closely involved with CSODS activities, especially on the practical and technical side of things”.

The role became vacant after the death, in November 2020, of Vivienne Bolton Sleigh, who had been the society’s president for 27 years.

Mrs Vivienne Bolton Sleigh, who was president of CSODS from 1993 to 2020. 

Mrs Vivienne Bolton Sleigh, who was president of CSODS from 1993 to 2020. - Credit: Supplied by CSODS

In recognition of this service, Mrs Bolton Sleigh’s widower, Noel Sleigh, commissioned a special presidential badge of honour to be worn by all subsequent holders of the position in her memory.

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The silver badge features bespoke engraving including an inscription to honour Vivienne Bolton Sleigh. It was unveiled and presented to Mr Leeds as the CSODS annual general meeting.

Mr Leeds is a town councillor and former mayor of the town, and is the manager of the National Coastwatch Institution's Cromer station. 

He has been a supporter of CSODS for many years and is usually seen selling programmes as part of the front-of-house team.

However he appeared on stage as part of group scenes in society's production of Hello, Dolly! in 2002 and Fiddler on the Roof in 2003.

Robin Taylor, CSODS chairman, said he was delighted with Mr Leeds' appointment as president.

Mr Taylor said: "He has been a valued supporter for many years, and we could not conceive a more fitting person to take on this important role for us.”

CSODS' next plan production is The Lady In The Van, which will run at the Sheringham Little Theatre from February 9-12.   

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