Sheffield loses one of its best known actors and singers
One of the best known actors and singers in Sheffield amateur theatre has died at the age of 69.
Sheffield born Judy Savournin was educated at the city’s Notre Dame High School, where she discovered the passion for music and singing which led to her first job in the sheet music department of well known Sheffield music company Wilson Peck.
Judy joined St. Vincents Operatic Society in 1967, taking her first major role, the Fairy Queen in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe in 1971.
She then auditioned to become part of the the world famous D’Oyly Carte Opera Company and was accepted subject to undertaking a training course at the Royal Northern College of Music.
However, Judy met and married husband John instead and the couple went on to have two children, Jo - who has appeared many times on Sheffield stages with her mother - and professional opera singer John.
In the decades that followed, Judy sang with City Comic Opera Society, Woodseats Operatic Society, Opera 14, Intake Methodist Musical Society, South Yorkshire Opera, Dore Gilbert & Sullivan Society and Manor Operatic Society.
She was also a respected director and musical director of several shows.
When the International GIlbert and Sullivan Festival began in the mid-1990s in Buxton, Judy and her family became regular attenders, performing in Festival productions and, more recently, in Buspass Opera productions.
She was fully involved, too, with the G&S Festival youth productions, coaching the principles.
Judy was also a regular performer in concerts of all musical genres, particularly enjoying the alto arias in Handel’s Messiah.
She taught piano to children and the occasional adult for many years, as well as running a youth theatre and primary school drama activities.
More recently, Judy and husband John joined Totley Operatic and Dramatic Society and performed in several plays culminating in a leading role last November in Biddys' War, which friend Alan Wade had written especially for her.
Judy worked at various times at both the original Montessori Nursery on Psalter Lane and the nearby Collegiate Montessori and she was later a Special Needs support worker at St. Wilfrid's, Ecclesall and Nether Green Schools and a Bereavement Counsellor with St. Luke's Hospice.
As her health declined over the last couple of years, and especially after treatment for breast cancer, Judy found much benefit and enjoyment from taking part in various activities at St Luke’s Clifford House.
“Judy will be remembered for her big heart and infectious humour - people came many miles to see and hear her,” said John
“Her family have been overwhelmed by the very many messages of sympathy and tributes to a truly remarkable lady.”
A funeral service for family and close close friends only will be held at Hutcliffe Wood Crematorium on November 11 and there are plans for a special celebration of Judy’s life to be held at Holy Trinity Church as close as possible to what would be her 70th birthday in 2021.