Olga Shotton- singer and shepherdess

Posted by maymorning on October 17, 2016 at 2:15 PM

The Hotwells Howlers have been deeply saddened to learn that Olga, one of our longest-standing members, died last week.   Despite being in her late 80s, Olga was still singing with us in the early part of this year, and was driving in to Bristol from Blagdon every Sunday for our 8pm rehearsal, until well into midsummer.  Olga seemed indomitable, and it is hard to believe she has gone.  

Olga had been a lively and enthusiastic part of the Bristol folk scene since the early days of the Revivial.  She could be seen carting a suitcase full of song books, badges and Morris bells around the clubs as an itinerant EFDSS Folk Shop, and visiting singarounds and folk weekends at Pennymoor and Whittlebury.  For a while she was drummer with the ceilidh band Kit and Boodle, helped run the Folk Tradition lamb or pig roasts at Fairlands, near Cheddar, and learned to play bones and spoons by practicing for ages (her words!) . She took on the management of the Folk Tradition Club, meeting at the Nova Scotia, and with the help of friends, kept it going until 2000.


A year or two later Olga joined the Hotwells Howlers.  She enjoyed "saucy" songs, and sang them with a twinkle in her eye.  She was always ready to take part in our various semi-dramatic productions, and has played, among other things, a number of landladies, a singer for Cecil Sharp, and a missionary to the navvies!  Olga had a great interest in researching history and worked with us in creating our current piece on the Great War, "Stony Broke in No-Man's Land".  In particular, she generously share with us some of ther father's writings about his experiences as a socialst Conscientious Objector in that conflict, a task which she found quite painful.


Beside the Howlers, she sang in her local church choir, and until fairly recently, "Bristol Harmony" and "Called To Be Saints" two West Gallery choirs.   Until a few years ago she also kept sheep, only giving up when she began to find chasing the runaways through Blagdon village beyond her!  

The Howlers will certainly not be the same without her.  Go in peace, Olga.

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