Long Melford: Ding Dong - original face of Avon marches on Downing Street in campaign for national Shakespeare Day
The former face of the global cosmetics brand that revolutionised the way women bought make-up in the 1960s has gone from ‘Avon’ to ‘Stratford-
Writer, researcher and former actress Faith Hines, who appeared in the TV campaign with the catchphrase ‘Ding dong, Avon calling’ as the original Avon Lady, is now heading up a very different campaign to push for a National Shakespeare Day.
There is a link between the two, with the American founder of Avon, David McConnell naming the brand after Shakespeare’s birthplace of Stratford-upon-Avon, as he was struck by the beauty of the surrounding countryside.
Ms Hines, 80, from Long Melford, near Sudbury, who is a leading light in the actors’ union Equity and a member of the Society for Theatre Research, organised a high profile visit to Downing Street this week to deliver a petition to Prime Minister David Cameron.
The document – backed by personalities including Sir Ian McKellen, Jo Brand and Stephen Fry, alongside organisations such as Eton College and the British Museum – asks the Government to add ‘Shakespeare Day’ to the official calendar on April 23, which is widely recognised as the Bard’s birthday.
Ms Hines was joined at No. 10 by actor Samuel West, the Tower of London’s own version of Shakespeare, and Alan Myatt, the Stratford-upon-Avon town crier.
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Ms Hines said: “William Shakespeare is hailed as the greatest playwright and poet who ever lived and his name is known throughout the world, yet his birthday is never marked in British calendars.” There is no government body that deals with registration of a ‘special day of national interest highlighted within the calendar’.
Ms Hines added: “We got a petition together to kick start an online e-petition, and once 100,000 signatures have been received, government ministers will be compelled to have a Commons debate on the issue.”
2014 will be the 450th anniversary ofthe Bard’s birth and 2016 will mark 400 years since his death.
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