Tributes paid to founder of arts centre

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MEMBERS of Garstang and District Arts Society have paid tribute to their founder, Mrs Stella Platt, who died recently.

Mrs Platt, who lived in Garstang for many years, was a highly-regarded professional artist, well known in artistic circles throughout north Lancashire.

In the late 1960s, she became aware that Garstang’s old Grammar School building was falling into disuse, and had a vision of turning it into a centre where artists of all kinds could meet and work together.

She approached the town council, town trust and other groups in the town, and quickly persuaded them that the building could become an asset again.

A working party spent many hours clearing, cleaning and decorating the school – during which some panelling was removed, revealing a fireplace which is now quite a feature of the school room.

Mrs Platt (right) was elected chairman when a committee was formed. And for several years, her husband Jack served as treasurer to the new Arts Society.

When Jack died, more than 20 years ago, Mrs Platt moved to Pooley Bridge, near Penrith, and spent her last years painting and drawing in the Lake District, which she loved so much.

One of her watercolours, which she presented to the Arts Centre 17 years ago on the occasion of her 80th birthday, hangs in the arts centre music room.