Chichester performer celebrates 100 years and the show must go on

Catherine with her three children and  husband Jack
Catherine with her three children and husband Jack

A Chichester resident who plans to never ‘retire from giving people confidence’ has celebrated her 100th birthday in style.

On Saturday, November 25 Catherine Lambert started her day with a toast and various canapes at Crouchers Restaurant, then later enjoyed tea at her home in Bryan Court with various friends and other relatives.

Catherine with her three children and  husband Jack

Catherine with her three children and husband Jack

Born on November 25, 1918, Catherine spent the majority of her childhood interested in poetry and English Literature and Language which lead to attend The Central School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art in 1937.

Catherine then left the school with a Diploma of Dramatic Art, the ‘Sylvia Strutt Memorial Prize’ for Verse speaking and a gold medal for acting.

In 1938, aged 21 Catherine met her soon to be husband, journalist Jack Lambert and after they married in 1940 spent a happy life together for 46 years until Jack passed in 1986.

Catherine then continued her time in the performing arts world by spending many years in leading roles with the amateur theatre company ‘The Croydon Players’.

After many years of performing to large audiences Catherine decided to give up acting to dedicate all her time to Jack and their children, Christopher, Caroline and Deborah.

In 1964 Catherine took speech classes at the Opera School of the Royal College of Music, where she stayed for 15 years.

She was at this time the Director of Drama at the ‘London College of Dance and Drama’, and working as the Vocal Coach in ‘The British Theatre association’, which ran courses for actors and producers from all over the world.

Catherine and Jack were regular visitors of the Chichester theatre and it was these fond memories that lead Catherine to move to Chichester in 2013 aged 95, allowing her to be closer to her family.

Caroline Lambert, Catherine’s daughter said: “My mother will never retire from teaching people how to speak and giving people the confidence they need to release their potential.”

To this day Catherine is still busy enjoying life to the fullest and is kept busy with the help of her three children, four grandchildren Clare, Emma, Tamsin and Alice and six great grandchildren, Siena, Annabel, Ben, Thomas, Dulcie, and Oliver-born in August this year.

Along with the theatre, Catherine now enjoys services at Chichester Cathedral and concerts by the Chichester Symphony Orchestra.

Christopher Lambert, Catherine’s son said: “My mother is loving, understanding, sensible, receptive, fair - everything a mother should be.

“Out of all the wonderful memories I have only one that, as a child, was negative when she used to dab my face with the corner of a licked hankie. I remember that as if it was yesterday”.

Deborah Miller, Catherine’s daughter, added: “She’s been terrifically supportive, generous and encouraging both to daddy and the rest of us.

“Not afraid of being direct and expressing her opinion and has strong ideas - prepared to fight for what she thinks is right.”