The local amateur dramatic community is mourning an active and popular member after the death of Alethea Scott, affectionately known as ‘Leafy’.
In addition to performing, Leafy had also earned a reputation locally as a writer and director of murder mysteries, through which she helped raise many thousands of pounds for local charities.
Leafy was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in October 2017 and following a year-long battle with the disease, she died on September 15, aged 65, leaving behind three children: Naomi, Harry and Lydia.
Son Harry Scott said: “Mum was taken from us far too soon. She was loved by so many people and was such a ball of creative energy.”
Harry said he was ‘incredibly proud’ of his mum and she will be ‘greatly missed’.
He added: “She had such an enthusiastic, can-do attitude and a brilliantly creative mind. She was a real inspiration.”
Leafy moved from South London to Selsey in the early 1970s and ‘quickly adopted’ the area as her home.
“Leafy later moved to Chichester and then Bosham, where she raised her family and remained until her passing,” Harry said.
“A mother and parent governor at Bosham County Primary School, Leafy established an after-school drama club and for four consecutive years she wrote and directed pantomimes to raise funds for the village school. It was there that she also began writing her first murder mysteries.”
Harry added that although his mum was ‘small in stature’, standing at just 4ft 8in, she could ‘command a rehearsal room’.
“In 2000, she was asked to write and direct Up The Creek as the finale to the village’s millennium celebrations. Performed on Quay Meadow, the short comic play gave a brief history of Bosham with plenty of Leafy’s signature cheeky wit.”
Harry explained it was Leafy’s ‘love of Agatha Christie stories and Carry On films’ that ‘inspired’ her comic murder mystery writing.
“She loved to take inspiration from the performance venue,” he added.
“2015’s Murder in the Classroom was performed at Great Ballard School complete with a school dinners themed interval meal. Leafy would devise, write and direct each performance, working with an ensemble of local amateur performers.
“Collectively these events raised many thousands of pounds for local charities including Children on the Edge, the MS Society and the Weald and Downland Gateway Project.”
Leafy, a ‘keen performer’, got involved with shows even while working for the county council.
Harry said: “While working for West Sussex County Council, she performed with the County Hall Amateur Actors group in 14 productions.
“An active member of the Funtington Players since 1995, she took leading roles in a number of productions including, in 2015, the title role in the Denise Deegan comedy Daisy Pulls It Off. Her final role with the group was in 2016 as the eccentric old widow Mrs Wilberforce in The Ladykillers.
“In recent years Leafy had turned her talents to writing short comic sketches which she later developed into a single play called The Inconstant Moon. In an introduction to the play, Leafy wrote ‘The theme is very close to my heart, one of optimism and living life to the full’.”
Shortly before Leafy’s death, her friends at Funtington Players published the script — a gesture which touched her ‘greatly’, according to Harry.
“They now plan to perform the play in her memory, very fittingly, as a fundraising event with proceeds going to St Wilfrid’s Hospice.”
Leafy retired from her day job at W Stirland Ltd to allow for her treatment and she spent her final days in the care of St Wilfrid’s Hospice.
Her funeral, which is ‘open to friends and family’, will take place on Friday, October 5, at Havant Crematorium.
If you knew Leafy and would like to share your memories of her, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on our Facebook page.