I was sorry to see this report in tonight's Dorset Echo:
"THE only surviving member of Thomas Hardy's Dorchester theatre group Norrie Woodhall has sadly died at the age of 105.
The famous Dorchester centenarian, of Owermoigne, is famous for her hardy connections.
Norrie, who is last surviving member of the original Hardy Players,
played Tess’s sister Liza Lu in the stage version of Tess of the
D’Urbervilles, which was performed in Dorchester in 1928."
I had the privilege of meeting Norrie when she came to the first night of my play "She Opened the Door" at the Corn Exchange, Dorchester. It was an extraordinary confluence of various Hardy elements but Norrie was the star of the show and we all had our photographs taken with her. It has always surprised me how present Thomas Hardy is in Dorset. After all, he died only 84 years ago but the direct ties are beginning to unravel and with the death of Norrie we are one more removed from the great man and his life.