St Albans theatre company founder reaches 100

A FOUNDING member of a popular amateur dramatics company has turned 100.

Brenda Swinson, who has been a well known local figure for many decades after setting up the Company of Ten with her late husband Cyril, celebrated her milestone birthday on August 26 among family and friends at the Lyndon Residential Home in Sandridge, where she has lived for five years.

As founders of the company, Mr and Mrs Swinson provided the group with space to build their first theatre in the gardens of their home, Abbey Mill House, before their current home at the Abbey Theatre was built at Westminster Lodge.

Mrs Swinson, who was born in Thames Ditton, was also cast as Boudicea and took the role of her husband’s assistant in the 1948 and 1952 St Albans Pageants which he wrote, produced and directed.

Mr Swinson died in 1963 and together they had three sons, Peter and twins Andrew and Jeremy. Mrs Swinson now has three grandchildren born to Jeremy.

The centenarian, who was also a Magistrate in St Albans for many years and a teacher in the 70s, is understood to be the oldest living member of the Company of Ten.