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• Avril Vellacott, well-known Teddington sculptor, has died

• Avril Vellacott, well-known Teddington sculptor, has died

Avril Vellacott with (l to r) Jeremy Thorpe (former MP and leader of the Liberal party), Hugo Swire MP (Chairman of the Works of Art Committee), John Bercow MP (Speaker of House of Commons), Nick Clegg MP (Leader of the Liberal Democrats) © Parliamentary Art Collection

Avril Vellacott, a sculptor and one of the leading members of Teddington’s arts community, has died aged 79 at her home in Elmfield Avenue after a short illness. A long-term member of the Teddington Society, she was a familiar and cheerful face at many of our events, not least the annual new year parties.

Avril’s career as a sculptor dated back to the 1960s, and over the years her work included a large number of portrait sculpture commissions – not least a bust of Jeremy Thorpe, the former Liberal leader, which is part of the Parliamentary Art Collection (see image above).

Avril studied at the City and Guilds of London Art School, taking the Sculpture Prize for her year, and she taught at Richmond Adult and Community College for more than 20 years. Away from her work, she was an enthusiastic member of Twickenham Rowing Club Women’s Recreational Rowing Team.

Two of her best known local works can be seen at Teddington Library and Teddington Memorial Hospital: at the library is a bust of Sir Noël Coward (who was born a few yards further up Waldegrave Road); and her bust of Pamela Bryant in the hospital celebrates the unflagging work of the Life President of the Friends of Teddington Memorial Hospital.

Working for many years mostly in the field of figurative and portrait sculpture, Avril specialised in terracotta portraits and has exhibited at the Royal West of England, Dartington Hall and the Society of Portrait Sculptors at the Mall Galleries in London.

She embraced the new world of social media and posted regularly on Facebook and YouTube. At home, during Richmond ARTHouse events (celebrating the borough’s rich diversity of creative talent), her front driveway became a covered workshop demonstration area, and she opened her back garden so that visitors could enjoy some of her larger pieces of figurative work.

Avril Vellacott is survived by her two sons and seven grandchildren.

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