A TRUSTEE of Richmond's historic theatre has been immortalised in bronze to give thanks to his 50 years of support.

The Georgian Theatre Royal is saying a very special thank you to trustee James Dugdale, second Baron Crathorne, who has been closely involved with the restoration, running and development of the historic playhouse for 50 years.

Lord Crathorne has not only served the theatre on a personal level, but the Crathorne family has long played a pivotal role in the theatre’s history.

To mark the occasion, fellow trustee and sculptor Caroline Stanley was commissioned to create a bronze bust of Lord Crathorne which will be displayed on the theatre’s main staircase.

Ms Stanley is well-known for her three-dimensional and bas-relief portraits – one of the most famous being a representation of Margaret Thatcher at The Royal Hospital Chelsea.

The bust was unveiled earlier this month at the theatre’s volunteers’ summer party which was held at the home of Lord Crathorne.

The event was attended by many of the theatre’s 100-plus volunteers who are involved in every aspect of theatre life from selling tickets in the box office and ushering, to conducting guided tours and costume-making.

On making the presentation, chair of the trustees Mac Bryant, said: “Lord Crathorne’s dedication to the Georgian Theatre Royal is second to none.

"Both as a valued trustee and fundraiser for the charity, he has played a major part in making it the success it is today. We owe Jamie a huge debt of gratitude.

"It was particularly fitting that we should celebrate the occasion at the volunteers’ party – one of two annual events that provide us with an opportunity to thank all those who so willingly volunteer their time and without whose generous commitment we could not operate," he added.

Lord Crathorne has been a loyal and active supporter of the theatre for five decades; a cause that has been closely linked to his family over the generations.

His late mother Lady Nancy Crathorne spearheaded a successful fundraising appeal and restoration programme that led to the theatre’s reopening in 1963.

His late wife Lady Sylvia Crathorne was responsible for a second extensive restoration that was completed in 2003 and included the new extension.

Both women served as chairs of the board of trustees. Lord Crathorne and his daughter Katherine Field both currently sit on the board.