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Catherine Pike (1920 – 2016) Cranleigh Arts Centre

Dr Catherine Pike, one of our best known and loved local residents, passed away in January 2016.

Born in Glasgow, in a family of doctors, she had a distinguished medical career and was a leader in the research and practical application of medicine for women, notably in breast cancer screening. She was consultant cytologist at St Luke’s Guildford.

She was also one of the visionaries who led the creation of Cranleigh Arts Centre as we know it now, in the heritage building on Cranleigh High Street which had been the village school. `She had come to know the Arts Centre through her work as Councillor for the Arts at Waverley Borough Council. Her enthusiasm and passion for the arts were immediately apparent and she became Chairman of the Board in 1995, leading the Centre for nine years.

Jack Wagg, her predecessor as Chairman, had laid the foundations by working with Arthur Gomez, architect, to establish a strategic plan for the eventual design of the Centre. In the 1990s thoughts were turning to the next stage of growth – to fill in the empty space inside the ‘U’ shape (the old playground) with a multi-purpose hall (now called the Jack Wagg Hall) and to refurbish the building completely.

Catherine played a leading role in the grant applications in 1995 to the Arts Council and to the Foundation for Sports and the Arts. These were successful in raising more than £1million and Catherine spent much of the following eighteen months paying close attention to the design of the interior of building, from the foyer to the clock in the tea bar. When the Arts Centre re-opened in 1998, with a bright new building and lots of potential, the challenge for the Board was to create a programme worthy of the building and to staff it.

Catherine’s Chairmanship was momentous for the Arts Centre. Her relentless focus on the purpose of her task drove her forward – and the others with her. She stepped down in 2004 and continued as a volunteer until very recently, her passion and her support for the Centre undimmed.

She is remembered fondly for always having a firm opinion and her drive to ensure that the participation and performance of the arts in Cranleigh gave enjoyment to all ages of the community. She always displayed common sense, without fuss or frippery; and had a ‘can do’ attitude that she had carried with her throughout her own career in medicine, local government and the arts sector.

She wholeheartedly supported in 2014 the new relationship of Cranleigh Arts Centre with the Martin Music Scholarship fund of the Philharmonia Orchestra of London which provides funding and dates for the best young international chamber musicians coming out of the Royal Academy, Royal College and Guildhall Schools of Music. Recital of chamber music in Cranleigh is now well established. Catherine attended them all and also enjoyed live theatre and film at the Centre.

Catherine Pike’s memory will be celebrated at Cranleigh Arts Centre at 6pm on Wednesday 8th June.

Ticket holders for the flute recital by Hugh Roberts, which starts at 7.30pm, are invited to complimentary drinks and canapés, with family and friends of Catherine, in the Crane Room prior to the recital. Hugh, from New Zealand, will perform works by Hindemith, Messiaen, Barber, Poulenc, Roussel, Reinecke and Boehm.

Please contact Cranleigh Arts Centre box office on 01483278000. Ticket prices are £16 (full), £15 (Friends of Cranleigh Arts Centre) and £10 (Students or under 16)

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