Cranford celebrates life of artist Jane Stonebridge

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St John’s Church, Cranford, was full to capacity as up to 300 villagers, friends and family celebrated the life of ceramic artist Jane Stonebridge at her Memorial Service.

Jane, who died at home on January 9 aged 64 after a long illness, had lived in Cranford for 40 years with her husband Bob and their two children Jon, 40, and Annie, 37.

Julia Bennie and Jane Stonebridge

Julia Bennie and Jane Stonebridge

For almost nine years she ran Cranford Arts at The Old Forge with her close friend Julia Bennie.

Jane made and sold ceramics and Julia floral art and floristry, and played a full and active role in all areas of village life, from serving on Cranford School Governors and chairing the Village Hall Committee to the Women’s Institute and Cranford Songsters.

She also built scenery for school and village plays and pantomimes.

Jane taught at Ferrers School and more recently served as artist in residence at Maplefields School in Kettering and Corby, where her impressive designs and artwork remain on show in the new Corby building.

Born in Desborough, she also ran her own mosaic projects for other schools in the area.

Her husband Bob, former Evening Telegraph reporter and features writer, said: “As a family, we are so grateful that Jane lives on all around us in the form of her fantastic ceramic creations and other artwork in Cranford and beyond, as well as in our own home.”

The Memorial Service on Friday, January 26, was attended by up to 300 people.

Tributes and readings were given by Lady Robinson of Cranford Hall, Jane Roux, Jane’s sister-in-law, Bob, Jon and Annie and family friend Brian Crichton.

There were also musical tributes by Bob and by Brian Crichton and his daughter, Laura.

The service was taken by the Rev Daniel Foot.

Bob’s tribute was read out during the service by their son Jon.

Part of it read: “Without realising it, Jane was an inspiration and role model to so many.

“She inspired people to create. She was modest and endearingly shy and she’d have been truly astonished and thrilled to see you all here today in your blues and yellows in her memory.

“Jane saw beauty in everything and tackled her every challenge with a calm and elegant air of unshakeable positivity, astonishing strength of character, and enormous courage.”

Ceramics, paintings and other artwork by Jane were on display at a reception at The Studio, Cranford Hall, immediately after the service.

Jane also leaves two grandchildren, Elsie, four, and Brin, four months.