Penny Francis pays tribute to Sally McNally
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.