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Final ovation at Cromer funeral for Norfolk am-dram actress

Chrissie Robertson with partner Andrew Payne. Pictures: Andreas Yiasimi

Chrissie Robertson with partner Andrew Payne. Pictures: Andreas Yiasimi

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An actress who entertained audiences across Norfolk with her singing and character roles had one final standing ovation - at her funeral.

Chrissie Robertson, right, taking a selfie as Barbara Castle with fellow Made in Dagenham cast member Selina White. Pictures: Andreas Yiasimi Chrissie Robertson, right, taking a selfie as Barbara Castle with fellow Made in Dagenham cast member Selina White. Pictures: Andreas Yiasimi

Chrissie Robertson, whose ethos was “it is what it is”, was a stalwart member of the Cromer and Sheringham Operatic and Dramatic Society (CSODS).

She also performed with groups at Dereham, Fakenham, Norwich and her home village of Taverham.

She died suddenly at her home in Taverham, aged 57.

Family and friends from her drama groups packed Cromer parish church for the funeral.

Chrissie Robertson as a panto baddie. Pictures: Andreas Yiasimi Chrissie Robertson as a panto baddie. Pictures: Andreas Yiasimi

Her coffin left the church to the rousing strains of Shirley Bassey’s I Am What I Am as the congregation stood and applauded.

Born in Hexham, Northumberland, the eldest of five children, she was educated in Lowestoft.

Her career included 15 years at Norwich Union including a spell running the training media team, and most recently in sales at building materials company CCF in Thetford.

But she was best known for her amateur dramatics hobby which saw her taking leading and character roles, mainly in musicals, pantos and comedies.

Her many and varied roles included cabinet minister Barbara Castle in CSODS’ Made in Dagenham last year, playing opposite partner Andrew Payne’s Harold Wilson.

She also directed and stage managed productions, and had a “show must go on” attitude - completing a comedy role despite being sick in the wings with a migraine and soldiering through a panto as a green-painted baddie even though she was suffering an allergic reaction to the make-up.

She directed three musicals in a row for CSODS on Cromer pier, My Fair Lady in 2009, Singing in the Rain in 2010, and Me and My Girl in 2011.

CSODS chairman Robin Taylor told mourners the “curtain may have come down all too soon” on her performances, but she would be remembered as “feisty, fiery, formidable, forthright, forceful, and a fabulous, fair, funny friend”.

Ben Francis, chairman of Fakenham and District Light Operatic Society, said: “She was a force to be reckoned with on and off stage, but underneath the armour and the fire was the biggest heart, which she shared with us all.”

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