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Sheena Harold - 1942 to 2023

Sheena Harold - 1942 to 2023

Sheena Harold

“She has left her unique mark on the town, in no small way”

Sheena Harold, Chairman of the Teddington Society, died on Monday 9th January after a brief illness.

Sheena had been active in the Society for some 25 years – where, with colleagues, she instigated the redesign and replanting of two public gardens, actuated hanging flower baskets in the High Street and Broad Street (now taken over by Richmond Council), and relaunched the annual Teddington in Flower event, which over the years has raised many thousands of pounds for local charities.

Together with John Demont, she also organised and launched the town’s Christmas Lights event, the forerunner of today’s Teddington Christmas Festival celebration.

Then in 2013, in partnership with the Landmark Arts Centre and St Mary with St Alban Church, she helped reinstate the annual Teddington Village Fair which, since then, has raised more than £10,000 – all donated to local charities.

In addition to her Society work, Sheena did much more besides, not just in Teddington but also across the Borough of Richmond. She was, for example, on the Richmond in Bloom committee, and she judged numerous private and school gardens each year until 2020. This was an important part of her life; she loved flowers and was very knowledgeable about plants.

So for these and her other contributions, it was entirely fitting that in 2017 Sheena was presented with the Richmond Borough Community Award for her outstanding public service.

Sheena was the daughter of Angus and Anne Mackay – her father being the legendary BBC producer of radio’s long-running Sports Report, which he launched in 1948 and produced until 1972. It seemed only natural that she would follow him into the BBC.

Before that, however, Sheena started her media career at Fleetway Publications, working as a journalist on high-circulation magazines for teenagers including Valentine, Mirabelle and Roxy. Then she moved to FAB 208, where she worked with other writers such as Neil Aspinall and Quentin Crewe, and she organised photoshoots with many of the biggest pop stars of the day. At the same time, she also ran the Everly Brothers Fan Club in the UK.

In 1966 Sheena Harold moved to the BBC World Service at Bush House in London, where she produced and sometimes presented programmes for the Far East, Africa and Science units. She remained at Bush House for the rest of her professional life and described working there as “being in a mini-United Nations”.

Sheena was educated locally at Newland House Primary School and Thames Valley Grammar School, now Waldegrave School. In 1981 she married Ernest (Ernie) Harold, to whom she was devoted. He was a specialist blueprint drawer by profession, and he died in March 2007.

In her long association with the Teddington Society, Sheena was variously Press and Publicity Officer, Trees and Gardens Convener, Editor of Tidings, Vice Chairman and, finally, Chairman.

Paying tribute, John Demont, a Vice President and former Chairman of the Teddington Society, said, “Sheena was trained by the BBC, so she was an excellent communicator, and this underlined everything she did – she was a good writer, and verbally very persuasive. Her commitment to the Society was absolute, and she has left her unique mark on the town in no small way.”

And Baroness Hilton, former Chair and now President of the Society, said, “During my eight years as Chair, Sheena was the prime mover of all events. It was her energy and enthusiasm that lay behind Teddington in Flower, the Christmas Lights and the Summer Fair. Without her ability to cajole people into taking part, these and other events would not have been so successful. She will be greatly missed.”

Sheena Harold, born 4 August 1942; died 9 January 2023. Chairman of the Teddington Society 2015-2023

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