Just a matter of weeks after losing their patron Priscilla Ryan, Rye Players and The Rye Shakespeare Company are mourning the loss of Yvonne Hamilton, a long time active member, wardrobe mistress and fine character actress – well known in Rye for many years as the proprietor of Hamilton Furnishings at 105 High Street – a shop that was an Aladdin’s cave of high class soft furnishing material, rugs, glassware, pictures, silver jewellery and even miniature clocks.
While she was proud of having made and hung the curtains for the great and the good in the town, she was equally happy to advise on curtaining the smallest window in the house. Her talent as a designer had also been employed in the past by some well known hotels, including The George here in Rye.
Over the past year, although her health was deteriorating, she managed to move house and still get out and about to the things she enjoyed, singing in a choir, volunteering in the community charity shop, which she helped set up, at the museum and of course, drama.
Her last public performance was at The Mermaid at the end of last year’s Rye Festival where, though she had to be helped onto the stage to a chair, she gave a great performance as a truculent, unhelpful bank teller. But to many of the fans of the RSC’s outdoor series ‘The Secret History of Rye’, she was the one in disguise who usually delivered the denouement when they couldn’t wait to cheer as she revealed that “in reality she was Lady Hamilton of Camber!”
Yvonne Hamilton 1939-2020 RIP.
Image Credits: Rye news library .