Widow of late Northampton timber merchant dies aged 104

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Constance Travis, the widow of the late Northampton timber merchant Ray Travis, died at her home in the village of Quinton on Christmas Eve at the age of 104.

Born Constance Edwards in 1911 in Stockport, her family moved to the south coast when she was 12 years old.

Determined from her mid-teens to become an actress, she got her first job in a musical review at the Palace Theatre Brighton which led her to being cast in a musical comedy at the Gaiety Theatre in Aldwich. She then worked in a number of productions at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and achieved acclaim as Lady de Winter in The Three Musketeers. In 1932 she was cast in the long running musical comedy “The Dubarry” at His Majesty’s Theatre and the following year she met her future husband when they both taking singing lessons in Bloomsbury.

They were married in 1936 and settled in Northampton living first in Kingsthorpe and then in Dallington. There were two children. They moved to Quinton in 1964. Ray died in 1988 the same year that his company, Travis and Arnold, merged with another publicly quoted timber company and changed its name to Travis Perkins.

As well as involving herself in a number of local charities she founded The Constance Travis Charitable Trust in the early 1980s and built it into one of the larger private grant making trusts in the country. Through this trust she was able to support hundreds of small and large charities, mainly in Northamptonshire but also at a national level. She remained an active trustee until the end of her long life.