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Hardy was real professional whose talents will be missed

By Shropshire Star | Readers' letters | Published:

I read with interest the article (August 5) on actor Robert Hardy who sadly died last week.

Robert Hardy

I was fortunate enough to work alongside him on several occasions when we were performing at the popular fireworks concerts in the grounds of stately homes – at these events a media personality was invited to perform with a professional orchestra, which I had been engaged to conduct.

On one such occasion, in the splendid setting of Castle Howard, Robert Hardy had been booked to deliver extracts from the Churchill speeches while the orchestra played some suitably patriotic music from an Elgar symphony; before the concert several of us had been treated to a meal by the Howard family.

I was seated opposite Robert Hardy and was treated to many amusing anecdotes – but I noticed that he was drinking rather a lot of red wine and his speech became a little slurred and he was looking drowsy.

I was concerned that he would forget all that we had discussed about the music earlier and not walk in a straight line as he came on stage.

However, I need not have worried – as soon as the concert started, he snapped into performance mode and delivered his lines faultlessly to an attentive audience of some 5,000 people. The rehearsals for these events were always hectic – but Robert Hardy stayed admirably cool under pressure and maintained a quiet dignity amidst all the chaos of the day.

Not only was his performance convincing and well prepared, but he was pleasant, encouraging and good-humoured throughout and showed no hint of the arrogance or impatience which some people suggested he displayed – a real professional whose talents will be missed by many.

Bob Wysome, Wellington

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