A Sussex showbusiness legend, the award-winning actress and comedienne Dora Bryan OBE, is hoping to make her first appearance in public for five years at an exhibition devoted to her life and work.
The former star of the television series Last of the Summer Wine and also of countless stage and screen triumphs, has occupied a council-funded NHS bed at Springfields Nursing Home in Hove since the death of her husband, cricketer and hotelier Bill Lawton, in 2008.
She has not been seen in public since she attended his funeral at their local church, St George’s, Kemp Town.
But next month a lavish tribute to her life and glittering career opens at Rottingdean Museum on September 13 under the title, Miss Show Business: Dora Bryan, A Celebration.
Among the numerous exhibits on display will be the BAFTA award she won as Best Actress for her starring role in the 1961 screen classic, A Taste of Honey, the Laurence Olivier Award she received for her performance in Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party at the National Theatre in 1994, and the OBE conferred upon her by the Queen in 1996.
The museum’s curator, Marcus Bagshaw, said: “Dora’s son, William Lawton, is not only lending us all her awards for display, but also her personal scrapbooks, which go right back to her childhood, and are an absolute treasure trove of theatrical memorabilia.”