Golden memories of picture perfect Pam

Cheers – and fond memories of a picture perfect lady described by daughter Sue Colborne as a survivor.

 Pamela Easthope
Pamela Easthope

By chance Sue, from Pattingham, came across this photo of her mum modelling for this striking shot almost exactly 50 years to the day after it was first published in the Shropshire Star on the front of a festive TV supplement.

And it has proven the key to Sue finding out more about her uncle, Star photographer Dan Arden, who took the photo of Mrs Pamela Easthope which appeared in the paper all those years ago on Friday, December 24, 1971.

"I knew she had done the photograph but not that she kept the negatives and the paper. I came across it almost 50 years to the day and thought, how lovely," said Sue.

Dan's full picture of Mrs Pamela Easthope which appeared in the Shropshire Star on Christmas Eve, 1971.

At the time of the photo Pamela, who was born in 1948 and so a young mum in her early 20s, lived at Lowland Road, Cannock.

Discovering the photo while going through her mum's things has been especially poignant because she was to have a tough life and died in November 2020 after, says Sue, contracting Covid in the Royal Stoke Hospital where she was being treated for cancer.

"She had no visitors until she died. We weren't allowed to visit her. It was quite tragic, quite sad," said Sue.

"My late dad, her husband, had a double life and was in the newspapers in 1979 for a serious crime. Her world fell apart."

Sue says her mum went on to have an unhappy second marriage and at the time of her death was Pamela Clifford – her maiden name – and lived in Stafford.

"She survived everything in her life, she was such a survivor, and it was so sad that she died alone."

One of the negatives of that photoshoot that Pamela kept safe for the rest of her life.

More happily, Sue has now found out much more about her uncle Dan Arden, who she had thought was an amateur photographer in the family, but in fact was a long-serving and much respected Star photographer who was honoured by the Queen with an MBE in the 2002 Birthday Honours list for his services to the community in Newport.

"I had no idea he was such a fabulous man. His wife, my aunty – dad's sister – died quite young. But we lost touch after mum divorced dad in 1980. What a lovely surprise to have such a lovely story. And an MBE in the family. Wow."

Photographer Dan Arden with Pamela, left, and his mother-in-law Rose Easthope.

Dan's skills are evident in the 1971 photo in which he used some dark room trickery to depict Pam sitting in a champagne glass. The image was used without a caption, so Pam's name did not appear.

He was one of Shropshire's foremost photographers for over 60 years, first having his own studio in Newport and later working for the Shropshire Star for about 40 years, and in later life, the Newport Advertiser.

He died aged 86 in 2004.

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