08 March, 2015

We Say Goodbye to Valued Club Member Paul Bagshaw

Southport MovieMakers lost a dynamic and creative member with the death in February of Paul Bagshaw. The following obituary has been compiled by Club member Tony Glynn.

Paul, who was 77, was a retired art teacher and an accomplished artist in his own right. He was astonishingly active on several creative fronts. He had a wide education in art being trained at Southport College of Art and Liverpool College of Art and he held a Master's degree in Education from Cardiff University.

His teaching career began at St John Rigby RC Grammar School, Wigan, then he became Head of Art and Deputy Head at St. Richard's RC School, Skelmersdale. Latterly, he was Director of the Sixth Form at Ruffwood School, Kirkby.

As an administrator in local education, he was a governor of two primary schools and of his old school, King George the Fifth College, Southport. He was also active in the college's Old Georgians Association.

He was keenly interested in football and was a selector for Lancashire Under-15 Schoolboys and England Under-15 Schoolboys.

A further string to his bow was his ability in the music field. He wrote seven musicals and 230 songs, several of which were performed on radio and TV and with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society.

Paul was also a prolific and entertaining author. He wrote a number of novels and a three volume autobiography.

His first ventures into filming were made with teams of his pupils and his interest expanded to become an important part of his life. I once asked him why he did not concentrate more on his own painting and he said film was now his absorbing art form.

After his school career, he set up the Channel Ten Video Company, specialising in educational programmes and expanding to cover medical and business videos and productions dealing with leisure, conference and hotel accommodation. Another venture was Artworks, producing prints of work by local artists.

His output of club and personal productions was extremely varied and highly competent. It ran the gamut from comedy to a documentary on a former Nazi death camp as well as a selection of short dramas such as "The Mirror" and "Fork in the Road", to mention only two.

He was not afraid to aim high, as in the creation of a full scale feature, "Four Days", dealing with intrigue and villainy in a family involved in business. It was the result of much effort put in by a team he gathered made up of writers, technicians and actors, some of whom were professionals or semi-professionals who happily donated their talents.

A meticulous planner, he took great pains with his productions. When producing the Club's film version of a short story by myself, "The Edge of the Storm", he not only made a scale model of the main location to facilitate action, he was virtually a one-man props department, making a series of convincing dummy rifles from some children's cricket bats; devising German army uniforms and even discovering Regan, an intimidating looking - but wholly lovable - ex-police dog, as an extra.

The film, directed by Paul's good friend, David Town, won the Best Overseas Production award in the annual Bare Bones Amateur Movie Festival in Muskogee, Oklahoma. It beat entries from Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom, to earn the Southport Society's first overseas award.

Paul did the Society a service by bringing in some new, enthusiastic and youthful blood in the form of a group of young people in whom he nurtured their individual talents for filming. One of them, Lewis Simpson, spoke for all of them saying "Without Paul, some of the features and short films Andy, Mickey, Sean, Nigel, myself and the rest made would not have been made or receive the amount of exposure of support they did. It was his passion and support that drove me to make more films and create something that he would enjoy and respond to. He will be missed."

A testimonial from a former member of Southport Moviemakers, Michael, read at Paul's funeral, recorded his gratitude to Paul for his encouragement and support which led to Michael winning a £5,000 film-making prize and an offer of an internship. "I don't know where I'd be right now without Paul's help", he said.

Paul who was a bachelor, was overtaken by illness quite suddenly and was working in film almost to the last, creating a series of fascinating short studies of aspects of art, that other great love of his life.

His funeral was on March 2 with Requiem Mass at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes. Birkdale, Southport, where an eloquent eulogy on Paul's life and achievements was spoken by his old friend and teaching colleague, Brian Lewis. There was a privately attended committal at Southport Crematorium.

Edge of the Storm Club Production 
Written by Tony Glynn and produced by Paul Bagshaw.

Two photographs of Paul at work on Club production "The Will"

Download PDF of Paul Bagshaw's Obituary