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Penny Francis pays tribute to Sally McNally

Sally McNally, nëe Bussell, died at her home in Devon on Monday May 31st, aged 68, of cancer. Sally was the only daughter of Jan Bussell and Ann Hogarth, of ‘The Hogarth Puppets’, and was herself closely involved with puppetry for most of her life. She travelled widely with her parents and sometimes performed in their shows, having been trained for the stage at the Arts Educational Schools, where she developed her love of dance. She was for sometime a member of the renowned Donald Wolfit company, and her professional life included television work as a puppeteer.

In 1956 Sally married Derek McNally, and the family expanded to four with the advent of Lucinda and William. Sally created puppet shows for playgroups and parties which she performed for many years both in Reigate and subsequently in Devon when she and Derek moved to a dream bungalow in East Budleigh in 1987 to be near Ann after the death of Jan. She added movement classes for all ages to her puppetry, and, true to her generosity of spirit, was involved in many voluntary activities which she rarely talked about. She extended her exercise classes to help the elderly and others in hospitals and homes, and lent her skills to various fundraising initiatives, with special regard to the British Legion. Derek her husband says the Legion will miss her very much, as of course will her many loving friends. She inherited the sharp intelligence and hospitality of her mother, and the humour and sociability of her father, modified by her own brand of modesty and kindness.

She also inherited the care of Muffin the Mule whom she guarded and tended as a member of the family. During the last couple of years plans have progressed for a re-birth of Muffin as the hero of an animated film series being made for TV. It is expected to go out in 2005 or 2006. Meanwhile Derek McNally is taking care of the Mule who lives with him in style and comfort.
We send Derek, Lucinda and William and her grandchildren our warmest sympathies in their great loss.

Also printed in the British Puppet and Model Theatre Guild’s June 2004 newsletter.

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