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Dr Rex Walford OBE

by Jane28 January 2011 2 Comments
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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 . His boundless enthusiasm, great generosity and wonderfully warm heart will be remembered with fondness by a great many whose lives he enriched,” said GODA Information Officer Paul Fowler.

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  • Jane
    Jane (author) said on the 6th February 2011 at 10:17 am

    The BBC have just reported that they have found Dr Walford’s body. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-surrey-12347648

  • Jane
    Jane (author) said on the 28th January 2011 at 10:24 am

    The following comments have been made direct to GoDA:

    “..such a generous and erudite man who will be sorely missed.”
    Ann Aplin, Chair, All England Theatre Festival

    “We are all very shocked at the boating tragedy that took Rex Walford’s life. I have worked with Rex and his wife Wendy as part of AETF, he was a very enthusiastic and passionate supporter local drama. he will be greatly missed.”
    Martin Patrick, National Secretary AETF.

    “What a terrible tragedy for Rex’s family and also for GoDA members.  Although I hadn’t known him long, Rex was very kind to me and struck me as such a warm, lively person that he will leave a great hole and be very missed.”
    Cherry Stephenson, GODA

    “With shock and horror we learned of the dreadful news about Rex.”
    Chris Moore, GODA

    “Rex will obviously be a great loss to GoDA and very much missed.”
    Arthur Rochester, GODA

    “A tragic start to new year and irreparably sad loss to family and friends and to GODA colleagues.”
    Jim Wolstencroft, GODA

    “What terrible and tragic news.  It was only in more recent times that I got to know Rex just a little more closely; in particular, I remember chatting with him at our Drama Festivals Conference in Kettering.  His humanity, his warmth of fellow-feeling  and – above all – the very obvious sense of enjoyment he took from his  adjudicating and festival work are, for me, the particular attributes that I shall remember.”
    Ian Sarginson, GODA

    “In the short time that I spent with Rex in October he came across as a true gentleman, one who was passionate about the theatre and who was so knowledgeable and caring. He was a fine ambassador for the Guild.”
    Julie MLoughlin, GODA

    “I am shocked and saddened by your news and send my condolences to his family.”
    Brian Ellis, GODA.

    “I’m so sorry to hear … Rex was the man who persuaded me to go into the profession after adjudicating a production of mine at the Walton Festival in 1968.He will be sadly missed on the circuit.”
    Michael Poyner, GODA

    “So sorry to hear the sad news about Rex. Although I only met him once, at the GODA selection weekend, he made a lasting impression. A man full of character and expertise, he’ll be greatly missed in all sorts of area, not least amateur drama. I’m very glad I had the chance to meet him.”
    Norma Neal. Sedgfield festival organiser.

    “The Guild has lost a first-class and highly valued member.”
    James Patrick, GODA

    “… he was not only a valued colleague of mine but also a true friend.”
    Jeanie Russell, GODA

    “… what a lovely, funny and engaging man he was. A terrible tragedy.”
    Jeff Brailsford, GODA

    “… being a new member of GODA, I was delighted to meet Rex, he made such an impression on me.”
    Frances Glynn, GODA

    “He was such a great support to me in my early days as an adjudicator.”
    Helen Sharman, GODA

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