TRIBUTES from the arts community have been pouring in following the death of a leading light in the Bridport cultural scene.

Peggy Chapman-Andrews almost single-handedly set up the Bridport Arts Centre in 1973 and later, as a fundraising venture, the now internationally acc-laimed Bridport Prize.

Tributes were paid after she died at the age of 92.

Arts centre director Polly Gifford said: “It is the end of an era not just for the arts centre but more widely.

“She always had words of support and usually a comment or two about the programme.

“What is really remarkable is that she sustained that passion for over so many years.”

Mrs Chapman-Andrews always loved the theatre and remembered her time helping the likes of Joan Plowright and the West of England Theatre Company when it came to town.

She would help unload their van, iron their costumes, sell tickets or programmes.

In the 1980s she was Bridport's first honorary townswoman and was made a MBE.

Her friend Coun Sandra Brown said: "We wouldn't have the arts centre if it wasn't for Peggy and from little acorns might oaks do grow.

“She started the writing competition without which I don't think it would have kept going.

“She was just so much a part of Bridport.

“She always said being an honorary townswoman meant more to her than getting the MBE.

"She will be much missed.”

A life lived to the full

MRS Chapman-Andrews was born in 1921 in Kent and trained as a shorthand typist, working first in chambers in Lincolns Inn Fields before working for the Home Office during the war and as an air raid warden. She married Wilfred in 1943 and they moved to the Old Shipyard in West Bay in 1944 when he got a job as head of English at Bridport Grammar School.

She worked as a social secretary for Bridport Industries and was an active campaigner for the Liberals and a keen member of Bridport Operative Society.