Royal greetings for Southwick star

Sheila Mathews is the longest-serving performer in the entertainment industry
Sheila Mathews is the longest-serving performer in the entertainment industry

A personal message from Buckingham Palace was received in Southwick for a very special birthday today.

West End musical star Sheila Mathews is celebrating her 90th birthday and she was delighted when the message from Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, arrived at her home.

The message, signed Philip, will be read out at Sheila’s birthday party at Amberley Castle at 3pm.

Show business personalities, including Su Pollard, zany star of television’s Hi de Hi, will be among the guests.

Prince Philip, who will be celebrating his own birthday on June 10, was directed by Sheila’s late husband, London Palladium producer Charles Reading, in his only screen appearance in a film, about the international children’s charity, Unicef.

As well as his birthday greetings, the message he sent also relates to Sheila receiving life membership of the actors’ trade union, Equity.

This recent honour was in recognition of a career spanning 87 years, making Sheila the longest-serving performer in the entertainment industry.

She made her debut at Alexandra Palace, London, in June 1930, at the age of three and grew up to become on of Prince Philip’s favourite actresses.

Sheila appeared on stage with Wick Theatre Company last year, in We’re Still Here! opposite another Sussex golden oldie, Brighton actress Antonia Pemberton.

They presented an evening of memories, poems and play readings at Southwick Community Centre.