Tributes to Eric Frith, stalwart of adult education and drama in Walthamstow

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Tributes to stalwart of adult education and drama Tributes to stalwart of adult education and drama

TRIBUTES have been paid to a stalwart of education and amateur dramatics who has died at the age of 90.

Eric Frith, of Oakhill Gardens in Woodford Green, was known by many for his tireless dedication to the community in Walthamstow.

Mr Frith, along with his late wife Elise, first started organising courses at what is now called the Adult Education Centre in Greenleaf Road, Walthamstow, in the 1960s and continued to be involved right up until his death.

When Waltham Forest Council made changes to the service in 2005 he founded a Walthamstow branch of the Workers' Educational Association (WEA) with his wife and ensured classes would continue to be held on the site.

He continued to serve as WEA chair after Elise died in 2010 at the age of 88.

He also played a key role in drama productions across the area, preparing and playing music and sound effects which accompanied hundreds of shows.

Mr Frith helped with many productions at venues including the Greek Theatre in Walthamstow School for Girls and Dick Williams’s open-air theatre at Willow Cottage near Abridge.

He was also known locally as a keen campaigner for the protection of Epping Forest and, in more recent years, the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow.

Retired actor John Spradbery, who worked with Mr Frith on many productions, said: "His knowledge and sure touch in selecting music for countless productions over the years was a huge asset and benefit in producing the Settlement’s theatrical achievements.

"He was someone possessed of absolute honesty and integrity - an honourable man".

Walthamstow WEA colleague Joan Carder said: "Eric and Elise embodied the ideals of the WEA, and the branch will not be the same without them".

Family friend Julian Walker added: "He will be much missed.

"He was a model of generosity and the best friend I could ever have. He always brought out the best in people."

Mr Frith died on Christmas Day at Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone.

His funeral is on January 16 at 11.45am at the City of London Crematorium.

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