Rep stalwart was ‘true gentleman’

George Sandifer
George Sandifer

One of the stalwart members of Dunstable Rep has died, aged 86.

George Sandifer, of Meadway, Dunstable, began acting with the Rep over 50 years ago and had been a part of its productions at the old town hall, the civic hall and, of course, the theatre company’s present home in the Little Theatre, High Street South.

One of his finest roles had been opposite Mona Norris in The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, but he had shone many years earlier as a gold-digging rogue in Murder Mistaken. His character in the play was called Teddy, and that became George’s family nickname.

He was unassuming and dependable, and described by his friends as “a true gentleman”.

He was a past chairman, past president and honorary life member of the Rep, where he was on the management committee and had been a leader of the Junior Rep. Behind the scenes he was an expert on stage lighting.

Born and bred in Dunstable, he went to primary school at Houghton Regis and then won a Chew’s Foundation Scholarship to Dunstable Grammar School where he formed friendships which lasted all his life.

He was immensely proud of the school and until his death was very active as membership secretary of its Old Boys Association.

It was at the school that he learned to love rugby and he was a founder member of the Old Dunstablians Rugby Club which started on fields at Sewell in 1947 and then moved to the Waterlow’s sports ground.

When the club decided to create a pitch on part of Dunstable Cricket Club’s ground in Bull Pond Lane he was a trustee of its lease there until the Dunstablians moved to their present base at Bidwell.

Bowls was another passion and he was still playing this summer at Dunstable Town Bowls Club in Hawthorn Close.

He was also a member of the Dunstable Probus Club and had been a member of U3A.

He had left school to train as a telecommunications engineer; a career which lasted until his retirement from BT in 1986.

Because of his job he was not called up for service during the war, but instead became a fire watcher at the Priory Church, sharing these duties with the Rector.

George was a member of the Priory choir for many years and had a great love of classical music and opera.

He took a major part in the great Dunstable Pageant on Priory Meadow, producing the episode featuring tournaments and jousting. He was taken ill suddenly on December 28 and died on the way to hospital. He leaves his wife, Joan, and two children, Rebecca and Paul, from his previous marriage to May Corbett.

The funeral service will be in the Priory Church at 2pm tomorrow, Thursday, January 17.