Val Bolton, co-founder of the Devil’s Kitchen Collective, died suddenly at her home in Bury St Edmunds on Sunday October 2. She was 79.
Orginally a child star of stage and screen as Valerie Forrest, she was the last surviving member of the Ovalteenies and had appeared on stage and in British Cinema in the 40s and 50s.
She was awarded the RADA special medal having won two scholarships to the adacemy and went on to perform in the West End. She also performed with Joan Plowright and Ian Carmichael as well as playing Mary in the stage version of The Blue Lamp, which became TV’s Dixon of Dock Green.
She married her first husband, Herbert Price, and had two sons Richard and Philip and when the marriage ended worked for The Reading Evening Post, becoming top sales trainer for the group.
Val met and fell in love with John Bolton and the couple ran pubs in Berkshire during which time Val organised jazz from performers across the country. On John’s death after the couple moved to Spain she returned to the UK and settled in Sapiston and then Bury town centre where she launched the collective with Fiona Kerr.
Her son Richard said: “She lived her life and brought much happiness and good memories to everyone she met, everywhere she went.”
Fiona said: ““She was my best friend and was the matriach of the Devil’s Kitchen Collective She was one of the most intelligent women I ever knew but with the youthful vibrant mind of a teenager.”
Julia Wakelam, a friend and member of the collective, said of her “ She was amazing. We are devastated she has died. She was such a character and such fun. A lively, vibrant personality, She was fun and she had fun.”
A celebration of Val’s life is at West Suffolk Crematorium on Tuesday at 1.30pm.