‘Françoise brought a ray of sunshine to all she met’

Francoise Amato. Ref shs 04-16TI 9802.

Francoise Amato. Ref shs 04-16TI 9802. - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to a Sidmouth woman who has been remembered as a ‘ray of sunshine’ and a ‘colourful character’.

Françoise Amato died peacefully at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital on Friday, January 15, after falling in her home in Newtown.

The 85-year-old was born in Senlis, France, and, after a brief time in Germany, she returned home in 1942.

She then stayed in France throughout its occupation during World War Two.

In 1948, she came to London where she met her husband, Vincent.

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After moving to Sidmouth, Françoise became involved with many groups around the town.

Her daughter, Adrienne, said: “She brought a ray of sunshine to those she met and will be known for her work on and off the stage with Sidmouth Aamateur Dramatic Society (SADS), Masquerade and Sidmouth Open Hand Theatre Company.”

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Ray Pickworth, with his partner Ken Davis, were founding members of the Sidmouth Open Hand Theatre Company.

Françoise stared as the French maid in the company’s 1996 production of Nude with Violin, a role that she relished.

Mr Pickworth said: “She was a very enthusiastic lady. She would be part of whatever, from making the tea to helping with the props.

“She was a very lovely lady who would help anybody.”

Françoise volunteered at Sidmouth’s Cancer Research shop for more than a decade and was also instrumental in organising a small French conversation group within the town. She was also a member of Sidmouth Twinning Association.

Françoise will be remembered fondly by children Adrienne and Alex and grandchildren John, Nicholas and Sophie.

A service of thanks will be held at Sidmouth Parish Church on Wednesday, March 2.

Donations can be made to Diabetes UK and the Admiral Nurse Campaign through Potburys Funeral Service by calling 01395 513355.

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