Three ex-pupils of the renowned Bush Davies School of Theatre Arts in Felcourt Road, East Grinstead paid an emotional visit to their old haunt last week, to unveil a very special commemorative statue.
The old school, that established an enviable national reputation for dance, closed back in 1989 and has since been converted into Charters Village – our beautiful retirement development!
The school friends, Myra Tiffan, Jill Hembery and Candi Woodd were invited back to Charters Village to unveil a piece of artwork which has been commissioned by the village to celebrate its history of dance and arts. Sculptor Steve Jolley, who famously worked within the props department at the Royal Opera House, created the statue.
Retirement Villages funded the piece of art via the sale of the original theatre seats in Charters Towers, now used as a communal lounge, bar and dining room for residents of Charters Village.
One of the school friends who attended was Myra Tiffan from Milton Keynes. Myra, also affectionately known as Tiddlywinks, was head girl at the Bush Davies School from 1973 to 1975 and went on to start up her own successful dance school in 1978.
“Visiting the village brings memories flooding back and it’s wonderful to see that Retirement Villages have retained and restored many of the original features of the building – we even spotted names of our fellow dancers still etched on the wall!”
Myra added “It’s very evident that Charters Village brings such joy to the residents that live there, in the same way that the Bush Davies School brought so much joy to lots of dancers and performers all those years ago. It really is a special place.”
Nigel Walter, village manager, gave the ladies a village tour and chatted in the galleried lounge, once the school dining room, over a cup of tea.
“We were delighted to host Myra, Jill and Candi and it was great to hear some of the lovely stories of their days at Bush Davies School. The statue will now stand proudly in the reception area as a permanent reminder of the building’s wonderful dance history” said Nigel.
“It has been a wonderful day for us all to meet up and enjoy a trip back to our school days together,” added Candi. “I’ve often driven passed the entrance and wondered what it looked like inside – now I know. It’s lovely.”