Tributes are pouring out for actress Gwyneth Powell, who lived in Hurst

TRIBUTES have been received for the BBC’s Grange Hill actor Gwyneth Powell, who died last week aged 76.

Gwyneth played headmistress Bridget McClusky on the show between 1981 and 1991, but was also known for starring in Channel 4’s comedy Man Down as well as in Holby City.

Gwyneth died in Brighton last Thursday “after complications following major surgery for a perforated colon,” her agent confirmed.

Outside of their professional acting, Gwyneth and her husband Alan Leith enjoyed spending time with amateur theater companies, where they lived in Hurstpierpoint.

The Argus: Gwyneth Powell in 1999. Image from the Argus archivesGwyneth Powell in 1999. Image from the Argus Archives

Hurst Players, based at Players Theater on Hassocks Road, Hurstpierpoint, was one such theater company.

Bob Sampson, Trustee at Hurst Players, said: “Gwyneth’s involvement with Hurst Players goes back years.

“She always made an effort to come to any production when she wasn’t working away from Hurst.

“When we had a non-stop Shakespeare fundraiser reading all the Shakespeare plays 24/7 for a weekend, Gwyneth and her husband Alan attended the public reading of Anthony and Cleopatra.

“Gwyneth said she always wanted to play Cleopatra but knew she would never be cast in a professional production.

The Argus: Gwyneth Powell with her dog Bertie in the same 1999 photo shootGwyneth Powell with her dog Bertie in the same 1999 photo shoot

“She has always been a strong supporter of our group.”

Gwyneth was born in Manchester and studied to become a teacher at Goldsmiths University in London.

In an interview with Hurst Life Magazine, Gwyneth spoke about how she had been a member of the National Youth Theater since she was 16 and during her senior year of college appeared in a play called Bartholomew Fair at the Royal Court in London.

Gwyneth immediately began soliciting offers from agents.

She decided to concentrate on acting and moved to Worthing where she joined a newly formed theater company called The Connaught Theatre.

Gwyneth stayed there for two years where she met her husband Alan.

She landed her first acting job as the female lead in the dystopian drama The Guardians.

Gwyneth and Alan lived in Brighton for 12 years before moving to Hurstpierpoint where they discovered Hurst Players.

Tributes to Gwyneth have been flooding online.

Trude Richardson said: “I went to her house for tea and biscuits a couple of times when she was staying at the train station.

“Such a beautiful lady.”

Leigh Bishop said: “I’m sure she once lived near Brighton station.

“She would welcome my dear father to Trafalgar Lane.”

Yvonne Ruff added: “Rest in peace Gwyneth. Another great actress who loved seeing Grange Hill.”

Freyja Fox said: “My friends and I saw them years ago at Hanningtons department store in Brighton.

“We were on a pub crawl and we were yelling ‘Mrs McClusky!’ and chased her through the store.

“She was too fast and escaped.”

Grace Taylor said, “Fly high with the angels Gwyneth. Condolences to her friends and family.” Tributes are pouring out for actress Gwyneth Powell, who lived in Hurst

Fry Electronics Team

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