Actress's support for children's charity

AN ACTRESS still devastated by the death of her husband is including some of his treasured possessions in an auction to raise money for some of East Anglia's most seriously ill children.

AN ACTRESS still devastated by the death of her husband is including some of his treasured possessions in an auction to raise money for some of East Anglia's most seriously ill children.

Helen Fraser, star of the ITV television series Bad Girls, set in a women's prison, is also selling some of her own prized possessions for the same cause - East Anglian Children's Hospices (EACH).

Miss Fraser, who lives at Wickham Skeith, near Eye, is a patron of the charity and has visited the hospices in Ipswich, Quidenham, near Diss, and Milton, Cambridgeshire, on a number of occasions and admits being “knocked over” by the work being undertaken.

She was enjoying the huge success of Bad Girls when she was initially invited to visit the EACH hospice as Ipswich, later becoming a patron and raising money for the charity during an appearance on a celebrity version of the television quiz show, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

Now she is organising an auction in aid of EACH in her village hall. The lots will include memorabilia and collectibles from all eight television series of Bad Girls and the spin-off West End musical they inspired.

A director's chair, a Glad to be Bad tee-shirt, signed copies of scripts, posters and even a Charles and Diana crockery set - presented to her on the opening night of the live show, will go under the hammer at the auction event, Released! on May 17.

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Other lots will include some of the possessions of Miss Fraser's husband, Peter Handford, an Oscar-winning sound recordist who died last year.

“I am still sorting through all his things. I'm finding it very hard,” Miss Fraser said.

His sound recordings are going to the National Rail Museum at York where they will form the Peter Handford Archive.

Miss Fraser has been an actress for more than 40 years, working on many dramas and comedies, including 1960s and 70s classic such as Dixon of Dock Green, Z Cars and Rising Damp.

She has also starred in productions nearer home, at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich and at the former Eye Theatre.

However, since Mr Handford's death she has worked very little. The couple were married for 33 years and were very close.

“I went ahead with the pantomime I was booked to do in January but, apart from that, all I've done so far this year is some voice-overs. I was offered work on stage in Manchester in July and August this year but turned it down. I'm very tired and run down,” she said.

Wickham Skeith Village Hall is about two miles from the Stoke Ash White Horse turning on the A140 between Ipswich and Scole. For more information, a sales catalogue and a form for registration and postal bids, visit www.each.org.uk or call 01953 715559.

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