At 82, Patricia Routledge, the star of Keeping Up Appearances and Hetty Wainthropp Investigates, has not slowed one bit. Following up her 1995 series-ending role as Hyacinth, then moving on to play the crime-solving Hetty Wainthropp, Ms. Routledge continued a long, storied career in both film and musical theatre, including her most recent role as Myra Hess in the play Admission: One Shilling in 2011.
In addition to sharing her talents and bringing countless smiles to millions of telly watchers and theatre goers worldwide, Ms. Routledge has continued to lend her name and efforts to a number of charitable ventures including her role as patron of the Beatrix Potter Society and a long-time support of the Chelsea Flower Show.
Ms. Routledge is now leading a £2.4m drive to build an abbey for an enclosed order of contemplative nuns and will front the campaign for The Community of Our Lady of Consolation – an order of nuns who, ironically, rarely watch television. The campaign will raise funds for the second phase of the development of Stanbrook Abbey, at Wass in North Yorkshire.
Describing herself as ‘a struggling Anglican’, Ms. Routledge developed a friendship with the nuns while preparing to play Dame Laurentia McLachlan, a former Abbess of Stanbrook, in a 2006 performance of the play The Best of Friends at the Hampstead Theatre in Camden. Ms Routledge, who visited the monastery last week, told the Darlington and Stockton Times: “I know these are difficult times for all of us, but I do believe the wonderful Stanbrook community is very deserving of support“.