Dr Rex Walford OBE
The Guild of Drama Adjudicators has paid tribute to former chairman Rex Walford who is missing presumed drowned following a boat accident on the Thames.
Members of the Guild’s governing council began their January meeting with a few moments of personal reflection on the life and achievements of their former colleague.
Rex Walford, 76, was one of the most popular and widely admired adjudicators in the country and had been a member of GODA for 40 years. He had been due to begin a third three year stunt as a council member.
“Rex’s enthusiasm, experience, warmth and wisdom were enormous assets and we will undoubtedly miss his wise counsel,” said GODA Chairman Russell Whiteley. “His ability to analyse a situation, move straight to the heart of the matter and to invariably suggest the right course of action, was remarkable.”
Rex was the youngest ever member of Guild of Drama Adjudicators when he was admitted in 1970, and was a member of its governing council on three separate occasions as well as serving a three year stint as chairman between 1999 and 2002. This year he had been due to adjudicate the Avon festival.
He also chaired the Cambridge Drama Festival, where he pioneered many innovations including a series of nightly quizzes aimed at engaging the audience.
However his theatrical interest wasn’t confined to festivals – he directed more than 80 plays, as well as writing, adapting and devising pieces and running Cameo Theatre, a touring company, with his wife Wendy. His play about the aviator Amy Johnson – Amy, Wonderful Amy – received a revival in his home city in November 2010. He was also a keen advocate of religious drama and directed several large cast plays in his local parish St Mark’s, Cambridge.
With GODA colleague Colin Dolley, Rex was co-author of the indispensable One Act Play Companion, and they were working on a revised edition at the time of his death.
“I have lost a dear friend, the Council has lost a wise member, the Guild has lost a hugely valued colleague, the festival movement has lost an inspirational adjudicator ~ and life has lost a lovely man,” said Colin.
As well as his interest in the theatre Rex was a highly respected academic and educator. He was an Emeritus Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge, a past President of the Geographical Association and a former Vice-President of the Royal Geographical Society. He is the author of the standard text on the history of geography in British education, and as a pianist has recorded two CDs of songs from the British musical theatre with the soprano Gabrielle Bell.
The list of his enthusiasms was constantly surprising. He derived great pleasure from watching football, particularly Cambridge United, was a member of Northants County Cricket Club, a keen motorcyclist, and a follower of speedway.
“He was an extraordinary man whose achievements in any one of his areas of interest would have been sufficient for most people. His boundless enthusiasm, great generosity and wonderfully warm heart will be remembered with fondness by a great many people whose lives he enriched,” said GODA Information Officer Paul Fowler.
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