Tributes to St Albans Operatic Society legend who ‘entertained thousands’

David Berridge

David Berridge - Credit: Archant

Operatic Society stalwart and much-loved former teacher David Berridge died last Sunday.

His death has devastated friends at St Albans Operatic Society (SAOS) where he was due to take on the reins as president next month.

But his name will go on the SAOS shield of presidents even though he was unable to fulfil the role which, when he was offered it by chairman Jane Foufas, he described as ‘better than an MBE’.

David, 82, came down to St Albans from Wakefield when he finished university and joined SAOS for its performance of Utopia Limited in 1956.

He started his working life in the city as a teacher of English at Beaumont School and retired as head of English at Sandringham in the late 1990s. Even after retiring, he continued his involvement with education as an examination invigilator..

As well as appearing on stage for SAOS David, a baritone, directed Fiddler on the Roof, Quaker Girl and Trial By Jury and was involved in the administrative side of the society, acting as secretary and a member of the committee.

As recently as the SAOS autumn production of Grease, he was working front of house and ushering people to their seats at the Alban Arena.

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After retirement he gave talks on many topics including theatre.

Jane recalled: “My first memory of him is in a show called South Pacific. I was in absolute awe of him.”

She said David had a “very impish side” and was well loved, not just in SAOS, but in St Albans in general. She added: “He entertained thousands of people over the years.”

David died at his niece’s home near Newark in Notts and a funeral date has yet to be arranged.