We’re saddened to let you know that Pauline Walker, director of the Co-op Juniors with Jeannie Ingram since 1978, died peacefully on Sunday aged 78. She joined the Co-op Juniors aged nine in 1951 and appeared in many shows at the Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe. She and Jeannie became choreographers, then directors, taking the company on a bold journey through 25 years of pantomimes and musicals at the Ipswich Regent. Pauline also taught vibrant dance classes to many hundreds of children at her Sidegate Lane Academy over many years.
The Co-op Juniors’ move to Snape Maltings for Christmas Spectacular in 2005 reinvigorated the company, which celebrated its 15th anniversary show at the venue in 2019. Pauline and Jeannie’s work with young people was recognised in 2004 by a Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2019 they were nominated as Community Champions of the Year.
Passionate, determined and creative, Pauline set high standards for herself and the Co-op Juniors. She retired in 2018 due to illness, but her legacy continues to influence the company. The performance skills she gave to so many young people, many of them now working professionally in the arts and entertainment world, will never be forgotten.
Our condolences go to her husband Brian, daughters Angela and Kerry and their families.
Jeannie Ingram said, “Pauline and I brought different skills to the Co-op Juniors and, together, we embarked on a great adventure which took us through the Felixstowe and Regent years to Snape Maltings. The success and vibrancy of the group is founded on her enthusiasm, passion and a huge reservoir of ideas. We all miss her desperately but her legacy lives on.”
Gary Avis, senior ballet master and a principal character artist at The Royal Ballet, paid tribute to Pauline Walker’s influence on his early dancing career.
“Pauline was a tour de force of excellence and dedication. Her energy and desire to give young people a chance to shine in large productions at major venues, pushing them to be better, making them proud of themselves and what they achieved, was instrumental in my early years as a dancer and performer.
“From those first ever ballet classes at Bolton Lane to living the dream on the Ipswich Regent stage, I shall be forever grateful to her and the Co-op Juniors family for being there for me while growing up in Suffolk. Pauline was legendary for her inspirational, demanding yet committed influence on so many and I am privileged to have been able to call her a friend. An enormous loss.”
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