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A Liverpool love story for Valentine's Day

Sandra (left) and Clare in happier times
Sandra (left) and Clare in happier times

On the eve of St Valentine’s Day on Sunday, Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre plays host to a moving, real-life love story.

Using the words of late activist and poet Sandra Richardson, who passed away last year, and the reflec-tions of her artist-wife Clare Beloved, the play weaves a testimony to the power of love.

Ticket proceeds are being donated to Liverpool’s Marie Curie Hospice, which cared for Sandra in her final days and for which Sandra raised thousands of pounds in her last months.

The play is being staged on Sandra’s 58th birthday in the hope that others going through similar grief can gain comfort from Clare’s experiences. Six months after Sandra’s death, Clare has gathered unpublished words, poems and notes written by Sandra in the hospice, as well as gathering her own writing and diary entries from that time, and turned them into a powerful performance. The play will include pictures, poetry and live music, offering audience members a sympathetic way to remember their own lost friends and family.

Acclaimed Liverpool actress Leanne Best (Line Of Duty, Cold Feet), returns to the city to play Sandra, while Clare will be played by Yolanda Kettle (The Crown, Howard’s End, Marcella). Music will be provided by Alexia Chellun – one of Sandra’s favourite singers – who has given permission for her music to be used.

Sandra, from Toxteth, was admitted to the Woolton hospice last year and died there in August. Despite her terminal diagnosis, she and Clare started a campaign to raise money to provide a lounge in which hard-pressed staff could spend their scant downtime, as well as televisions for patient rooms.

­­At the time of her death and with the help of several supporters in the public eye, Sandra had raised more than £21,000, a figure that continues to rise.

I promised Sandra we would carry on her legacy and that her poetry would continue to raise money in her name,” said Clare.

Marie Curie's community fundraiser in Liverpool, Ruth Todd, said:Without the generous support of people like Sandra and Clare, staff at the Marie Curie Hospice in Liverpool couldn’t continue to work on the frontline, providing vital care and support for people living with a terminal illness and their families.”

More info and tickets here


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