Much-loved actress and former Latton Bush teacher passes away

Final Curtain for much-loved community stalwart.

HARLOW has lost one of its great stalwarts of the community. Dee Palmer, a key member of the town’s education and theatre community for over fifty years, passed away peacefully at home on Friday 7th September, at the grand age of 95 years old.

Dee, known to some as Doris, came to Harlow in 1966 with her husband David, and taught Home Economics at Latton Bush Comprehensive School until the school closed in 1985. However, it was as an actress, director and fervent supporter of Harlow Playhouse that many will remember Dee.

Former pupil Nicole Walton said “Teacher, director, mentor; thrower of fab dinners, parties and soiree – some of my best memories are because of Dee.” Others described Dee as ‘Tour De Force’ recollecting the Gaslighters’ Olde Tyme Music Hall and Cockney Ding-Dong, Dee being an instrumental part in the creation of Harlow Theatre Company and ploughing creative energy and nurturing talent through her own local company Centre Stage.

Dee’s talent for culinary education were remembered fondly on Facebook with the delights of doughnuts and lemon meringue pie being contrasted with a good basic white sauce and how to cut an onion – skills for life indeed!

Former Councillor Ian Beckett, who was both taught by Dee, and worked for her and with her on stage, said “I’m saddened by this loss. Without Dee’s support and encouragement I would never have got over my teenage nerves and trod the boards. That confidence in turn has served me well throughout my life.”

Dee’s daughter Barbara-Anne said “The beautiful messages and wonderful memories that so many people have shared have really made a difference to all of the family”.

Dee was a member of the actors’ union Equity for nearly seventy years, having first appeared in a film called “Five Towns” in 1947. Dee sought to bring professional quality and a great deal of fun to amateur and community theatre in Harlow.

Dee Palmer will be laid to rest at GreenAcres Woodland Burials, North Weald on Friday 5th October at 11am. Family and friends will be gathering in Theatre 2 (The Studio) at Harlow Playhouse following the funeral to raise a glass and celebrate the life of this much-loved community stalwart.

No flowers please, but donations towards the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK would be welcomed by the family.

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