Tributes to stalwart of New Mills Art Theatre who will 'leave a hole' in people's lives

A woman who spent more than three decades helping with pantos, costumes and front of house in New Mills will be sorely missed, the town’s theatre community says.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 8:04 am

Jenny Howe, who used to work as a hairdresser at Kendal’s in Manchester and then Potter’s department store in Buxton, became part of the New Mills Art Theatre family in the late 1980s when her daughter Lucy was starring in the panto.

She was the go-to woman in the wardrobe department who was funny, creative and a friend to everyone at the theatre says long standing friend Sandra Bullen.

It was at the theatre where Jenny met Sandra and the two remained very close friends ever since.

Jenny Howe was a stalwart of the New Mills Art Theatre for more than 30 years

Jenny, aged 70, died on March 8, after a short battle with cancer.

Sandra said: “There is a big hole in my heart and she leaves a hole in the theatre family as much as her own, she was so well loved and will be sorely missed.”

Jenny joined the theatre panto committee in 1987 and although she stepped down from the committee in the 1990s she never stepped away from the theatre itself.

Sandra said: “She was the wardrobe mistress, she was so talented and creative, not only making clothes but recycling them and giving them a new lease of life for another show.

"She worked tirelessly in other aspects of the theatre too, she sold raffle tickets and programmes, and was always seen front of house with a smile on her face as she believed service off-stage is as important as that on-stage – perhaps more so.”

Theatre was always a way of life for Jenny, who lived in New Mills. She was the daughter of one of the founders of Kinder Youth Theatre, Fred Ricketts and she was the wife of David Howe, New Mills Art Theatre Ltd director, vice chair and former bar manager, as well as mother to Nick Howe, sound designer and former NMAODS (New Mills Amateur Operatic & Dramatic Society) committee member, and Lucy Flinter a former performer on the New Mills stage.

She also had three grandchildren and two step grandchildren and one of her grandaughters has carried on the performing gene taking to the stage in London while her step grandaughter and daughter-in-law still regularly perform at New Mills in pantos and and productions.

Outside of the theatre, Jenny was also a keen gardener and Sandra said whatever the weather Jenny would be out looking after her beautiful garden.

Sandra added: “Her last panto was 2019 as we didn’t do one last year, so it will be a strange and sad time to return to the theatre this year and not see Jenny’s smiling face.”

The family would like to thank Dr Mark Blackburn from the Sett Valley Medical Practice, District Nurse Emma Allen and her wonderful team of nurses for their excellent care of Jenny, and Ashgate Hospice for their constant advice and support.

The funeral will take place on March 26, family flowers only please. Donations in memory of Jenny can be made to Ashgate Hospice - https://www.ashgatehospicecare.org.uk/donation/.

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