We have just learnt that Chris Hayes from YG 1962 has passed away.
Fellow Old Scholar Joan Pearce (YG 1962) went to his funeral and wrote the following account:
"The Friends’ Meeting House in Canterbury is smaller than the one in Saffron Walden. It’s in a lovely location - by the river, surrounded by a well-kept garden.
The room was full - 60-70 people, at a guess. In the centre of the room was a wicker casket with a host of white flowers on top. We were welcomed by a man called D (Dee?). He is another theatre person, who lives in Faversham. He said that he and Chris alternated going to meeting in Canterbury and in Faversham. However, I doubt that Chris was a frequent attender at Canterbury, as very few of those present were from the meeting. Most were people who had known Chris at RADA and other theatrical establishments.
It occurred to me afterwards that if there were a group of non-Friends who would take to a Friends’ meeting like ducks to water, it was the theatre community. More people contributed in this meeting than any other I can remember; some spoke about Chris, others had brought poems to read. People talked of his kindness, his good humour, his openness, how he was willing to talk to anyone. In a more professional context they mentioned the support and inspiration that he gave to students, his achievement in rejuvenating the Theatre Royal in Plymouth and his avoidance of theatre politics, which the speaker noted could be vicious. There were some specifically theatrical references: one man remarked that the last time he had been in a room with Chris and a coffin was in a production of Joe Orton’s play ‘Loot’. A particularly emotional contribution was made by a woman called Lorin, who I think was Spanish. I discovered later that she and Chris had been married until about five years ago.
D had explained that after the service the coffin would be taken to the crematorium, and that anybody who wished to go to the crematorium was welcome to do so. In the event, only D and Lorin went. I saw them briefly when they returned. D said they had waved the coffin goodbye at the door but had not stayed for the cremation.
At the Marlowe Theatre studio a few anecdotes were told about Chris. There was a large screen showing photos, playbills, programmes etc., from Chris’s life. Most of the originals of these were spread out on two tables, and we were invited to take any that we would like to keep. I took two photos (one of which is on this page), which were the only ones from FSSW. I find the small one very appealing (here, Chris, right, and fellow YG 1962 OS Rodney Harper, left) - there is a mix of innocence and mischief, and a sense that they are up for anything.
After leaving the Marlowe I had a bit of time, so I walked to the cathedral, where they wanted to charge me £12.50 to visit. I explained that I had very little time and had just been to a funeral. The woman asked if I would like to go to the crypt to light a candle, so I was allowed in and lit a candle for Chris. I hope he would have approved, or at least been amused."
The following item also appeared on the RADA website where Chris had previously worked for 25 years.