Lifelong passion for film of man who brought Cinerama to Sidmouth
PUBLISHED: 17:00 25 August 2018
Tributes have been paid to Michael Edgecumbe, who had a lifelong passion for film and brought Cinerama films to Sidmouth, who has died aged 74.
He was born at Leigh Cottage, Sid Road, while his father Victor was fighting in Burma as part of the so-called ‘lost army’.
As a boy he delivered the Express & Echo and Sunday newspapers and employed other boys for the rounds. He qualified for Exeter Technical Grammar School where he began a lifelong interest in showing films.
At 15 he became famous as the world’s youngest cinema manager at Sidbury Village Hall. He even toured schools with a scooter and sidecar showing films. He met his wife Joan in 1966 when he was a freelance film cameraman having recently returned with friend Derek from a filming expedition to Lapland inspired by reading ‘Nanook of the North’ as a boy. He drove his minivan to the Arctic Circle.
He combined working for Jack White building Devon Caravanettes with film work around Europe. While working in London he became fascinated by Cinerama, visiting the London studio and learning about film production by working in the cutting room.
He sold his camera and married Joan in 1969 and continued working at Devon Conversions where he was also Union Convenor. He made headlines by negotiating for £1000 a year guaranteed wages.
Made redundant in 1974, he decided to start a taxi firm and went on to run minibuses then coaches with Sid Valley Coaches.
A long-standing member of Sidmouth Methodist Church, he was involved in many aspects of church life and became Chair of Churches Together In Sidmouth putting on events at the Connaught Gardens.
He devised a way of showing Cinerama in the Methodist Hall, achieving the goal of screening the whole repertoire of Cinerama films that were made. He co-produced a remastering of the film ‘Windjammer’ which will be shown in his memory.
His greatest love though was surely his family, living to see six grandchildren.
Despite considerable difficulties with ill health, he persevered in whatever he put his mind to, always a devoted husband and family man, demonstrating compassion and always serving others. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him.