Tributes paid to writer and theatre critic

Amanda Wilkins pic for Sussex Express may 1, 2009 lawrence smith PICTURE BY CONNORS BRIGHTON 01273 486851'03/09/2008'2008 South & South East in Bloom Awards.'The Hewth, Crawley, West Sussex.'Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins with 'Ouse Estuary Nature Reserve, Newhaven''Amanda Wilkins & Cllr Robert Roberetson
Amanda Wilkins pic for Sussex Express may 1, 2009 lawrence smith PICTURE BY CONNORS BRIGHTON 01273 486851'03/09/2008'2008 South & South East in Bloom Awards.'The Hewth, Crawley, West Sussex.'Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins with 'Ouse Estuary Nature Reserve, Newhaven''Amanda Wilkins & Cllr Robert Roberetson

Tributes have been paid to former Herald reporter and theatre critic Amanda Wilkins who was found dead at her home last week.

The 70-year-old was a popular figure on the Eastbourne theatre scene, had run five London marathons and was a stalwart supporter of various charities and youth groups.

She was looking forward to working at the Natwest Island Games in Jersey later this year and had also landed a post at the Brighton Amex for the Rugby World Cup.

Amanda, known as Wilko to her friends, had been suffering with a virus for some time and died of a clot on the lung at the sheltered housing complex she lived at in at South Heighton. A date for her funeral has not yet been announced.

Born in Derbyshire, Amanda moved to London and worked in theatre administration before moving to Eastbourne where she landed a job at the Eastbourne Herald under the editorship of Peter Lindsey.

He said this week, “Amanda was a true character who became very well known in Hailsham and Seaford when she was the towns’ district reporter. She became heavily involved in the communities and was always happy to give up her time to report on what was going on. Although she later moved to Newhaven, I am sure there are many people who will remember Wilko fondly, including at the Eastbourne tennis every year and Eastbourne theatres.”

Chris Jordan at Eastbourne Theatres said, “Her passion, energy and enthusiasm for theatre was unwavering. Always smiling, always with a story to tell and always supportive of our work at Eastbourne Theatres. Our weekly press nights will certainly never be the same again.”

Amanda went on to work at the Sussex Express and until recently contributed articles, theatre reviews and the regular Parish Pump section for Seaford and Newhaven areas.

Her friends have paid tribute to the colourful and vibrant spinster who they said was always doing something for somebody. Danny Woodford said, “We have lost a true character and Samaritan and she will truly be missed by so many.”

A post on the Facebook page of the Hampden Arms where Amanda was a regular said, “We are still in shock to hear this sad news. Amanda Wilkins has been a good friend and has always supported our local community, bonfire society and our Seaford Musical Theatre Juniors group. She lived life with such enthusiasm and had a huge heart. A very generous and kind person. Can’t believe it.”