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Ambridge mourns its daughter Caroline

Hannah Ratcliffe

Assistant Producer, The Archers

Ambridge is reeling from the news that Caroline has died. After an idyllic morning in Italy, buying peaches at the market followed by lunch at a favourite café, she passed away while napping by the swimming pool at her and Oliver’s Tuscan villa.

Despite being drawn away to Italy in recent years, the loss of Caroline will be felt in all corners of Ambridge. Since starting out in the village working at The Bull in 1977, she formed many and varied friendships in the village. Forty years on, as long-standing manager – and since 2006 proprietor – of Grey Gables Hotel and Country Club she remains much loved and respected.

Caroline was played by Sara Coward who sadly died from cancer in February. We last heard her as Caroline in September 2016 when she chided Oliver for taking his time over the Grundys' tenancy agreement for Grange Farm, and tried to maintain her composure as Joe and Eddie Grundy dragged her Edwardian chaise longue towards their cider club shed.

Underneath Caroline’s frustration with the Grundys was a long-standing connection with the family that she always honoured. As godmother to Will she generously treated him at Christmas and on his birthday but also took an active interest in his welfare as he grew into a young man.

When the Grundys were evicted from Grange Farm in 2000, Caroline offered 17-year-old Will the top floor rooms of the Dower House. And when she moved in with Oliver in 2003, she got work done to make his rooms self-contained so he could carry on living there while the rest of the house was rented out.

A great deal of luck seems to have played a part in Caroline becoming a godparent to Will. Back in 1983, against Clarrie's wishes, her dad Jethro as well as Eddie and Joe asked all sorts of people to be godparents to Will. According the the archive: Jethro asked Phil, Joe wanted Alf, Eddie asked Nelson, Joe also asked Mary Pound and Shula was asked by someone! In the end Caroline, Sid and Neil became Will’s godparents.

Ever since her first appearance as Caroline, Sara made the character irreplaceably her own. Tributes to Sara poured in when she passed away earlier this year. Now it's the turn of those in Ambridge to say farewell to their dearest Caroline.

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