Corral Sutherland – 50 years of giving to our community

The following are just some of the ways in which Corral enthusiastically supported the community in which she lived.

The Kibworth & District Chronicle

Corral joined the Chronicle soon after it formed in 1978 and was a signatory to its 1983 Constitution. On offering her services, she was asked what she could do. With her usual directness, she replied ’Everything’. The early issues of the Chronicle did not make a profit and it turned out that advertisers were put off because they were unable to produce the artwork required. With Corral on the team, the problem was solved and the future of the Chronicle was secured. Kevin Feltham, HDC Councillor, remembers the early days when he joined the advertising team. He had past experience of using Letraset at work but many was the time that an advert was returned as ‘not good enough for the Chronicle’. However, Corral was always encouraging and offered many suggestions for improvement. 

For 40 years Corral was central to the look of the Chronicle, often staying late on a Sunday morning to work on the front page or a special two-page feature. She was a great calligrapher, providing many eye-catching headlines in her distinctive style. Former Editor Roger Garratt sums it up perfectly, ‘A few curves of her pen could speak several lines of text and catch the eye of even the occasional glance’. She would tackle any challenge that you threw at her, illustrating intrepid Gumley governesses, Edwardian schoolchildren at play or Scottish soldiers marooned by snow in Kibworth. 

Anyone who has helped with Chronicle lay-up knows that Corral took a strong line on not having a coffee cup anywhere near the lay-up boards. Whether Layer-up or Editor, the rules were the same. She could be fiercely critical and would state her case clearly if she disagreed with you but she was never unkind. When a maverick instigated, against Corral’s advice, a different method of arranging the lay-up boards that proved unsuccessful, she accepted gracefully an acknowledgement that her method was best. 

At management meetings, she always spoke her mind and offered advice based on long experience. However, she was never pompous, rejecting the idea of a fancy title such as ‘Artistic Director’. She liked to encourage newcomers, one of whom turned up for a management meeting to see what went on and, before they knew it, were involved in producing adverts for a street map of Kibworth. 

As the Chronicle embraced new technology, from Cowgum and Letraset to computers and digital photography, she was there, helping us all to use it to full effect, whilst maintaining the maximum community involvement. She wasn’t wholly convinced that the Chronicle should take on social media, questioning the usefulness of Twitter. She would have been amused to see the current Tweets celebrating her achievements.
Corral we’ll do our very best to keep up your high standards. Thank you.

Kibworth Golf Club

I first met Corral and Ian some 40 years ago when I joined the Kibworth Golf Club. I remember being made to feel so welcome by them both, a tradition that is still prevalent in the Club today. 

Corral was Lady Captain in 1984 and was renowned for her colourful, tasteful wardrobe. She donated a beautiful glass trophy that year, the Corral Cup, that is played for annually by the ladies and is much sought after.

At Club Annual Meetings, Corral could always be relied upon to ask challenging and pertinent questions to the Committee, much to the admiration of her friends Jean, Beth and Gillian. As Jean Edmonds said to me, Corral would be so frustrated to know that the President was speaking at her funeral without the opportunity to ask awkward questions.

Corral, thank you for your loyalty and friendship to Kibworth Golf Club. You will be sadly missed by all. Graham Rowlands

School Governor

Corral’s involvement with Kibworth High School began with her design for the new school badge in 1964. She cleverly incorporated a phoenix arising from the flames, or ashes, of the ‘old’ school, which was founded in 1725. The design is still used by The Kibworth School. 

When Kevin and Judith became pupils at the High School, Corral joined the Parent Teacher Association. Her enthusiasm for its activities led to her becoming a School Governor. The Head, David Still, recognised her abilities and actively encouraged her involvement in the school. Her love of Music led to her working with Roger Garratt and she was also interested in the work of the Art department. 

Later Corral was asked to be a Governor assigned to the Languages Department and worked closely with Peter Howells and Pat Sharman. She supported their work with particular interest in the visual aids produced by the staff to stimulate the pupils. On joining one of the annual French trips, Corral was not merely a bystander; she was 100% involved in supporting the staff and pupils. A vivid memory is of Corral surrounded by pupils on the ferry, sitting and chatting with them as she did a portrait sketch of each. At the end of the trip each pupil and member of staff received the sketch as a souvenir. 

When Community Education became a developing area for schools, Corral recognised that this was an opportunity for the village community and involved in its development. When Deputy Warden Andrew Munro left, John Sharman took over to develop the Kibworth Community Centre further. Corral was elected as Chairperson. 

At its peak there were over 60 evening classes, some 30 Affiliated Groups and a wide range of activities for small children, school pupils, teenagers and adults from Kibworth and its surrounding villages. 

Corral introduced and led the Summer Playscheme week for several years with a team of volunteers, enabling 300+ children of all ages to enjoy a wide variety of activities. The week ended with Kibworth Carnival, with a parade through the village leading to a Fair on the school field and finally a dance in the evening. Later, she encouraged Pat Sharman, Penny Mattock and others to continue the running of the Playscheme. Corral designed all of the artwork, such as brochures and posters, for publicity and advertising the centre’s activities. 

Thank you Corral, you encouraged so many pupils, inspired many staff in the school and the community centre and gave ideas and support to all who worked with you. You set high standards, friendships were forged which have given us many happy memories and you have left us with a tremendous legacy. John and Pat Sharman

In addition to all her artistic endeavours, Corral sang in the Kibworth Ladies Choir and took tap dancing lessons with Felicity Peberdy, who was never sure who was teaching whom. She was hugely proud of her talented family: Kev with his sock puppets; Kirsty with her singing, dancing and acting; and Shona’s acceptance on a Musical Theatre course at The Brit School.

Corral died on 30 December, 2018, just 10 days after her 82nd birthday. A life well lived indeed.

Thank you to everyone who shared their memories of Corral, and to Kev and Jude for the wonderful tribute to their mother which follows:

Corral Sutherland 1936 – 2018

Corral Sutherland, who has died just ten days after her 82nd birthday, is remembered by friends and family around the world, particularly in her birthplace of Montrose, Scotland and in Kibworth, Leicestershire, her home for the past fifty years. 

Corral Findlay was the first of her family to go to University, studying at Edinburgh College of Art in the 1950s where, legendarily, her life model was Sean Connery. Sadly none of her drawings of the ginger haired milkman in a posing pouch had survived her mother’s tidying up by the time she had met and married Ian Sutherland and set up home in Aberdeen. 

With their two kids, Kev and Jude, the family moved to Leicestershire, living first in Evington then settling for the long term in Kibworth. (All four of the family, by the way, share an apparent dislike for their given names. Ian’s name was officially John, Jude was Judith, Kev was Kevin, and Corral’s name on all the paperwork is Catherine. Her middle name Corral is an old family surname. For 82 years nobody has known her as anything else.) 

Having put her art college training to good use as a graphic artist, while simultaneously raising the two kids, Corral’s work as an illustrator would be familiar to the aficionados of such tomes as the Wolseley knitwear catalogue, and her draughtswomanship captured the details of machine parts and shoe patterns long before computer aided design was dreamt of. 

Corral’s design work included the original packaging for a product made by Invicta Plastics of Oadby in 1971, which children of the day will remember fondly, the knuckle-shattering hi-tech conkers they called Clackers. Legend tells that the original working title for this toy, when Corral designed its first wrapping, was Knackers. And that sentence won’t make the Montrose Review. 

Many friends and relatives will be familiar with Corral’s home made Christmas cards, a tradition that began with her solo card in 1957, continued with Corral and Ian’s first joint effort in 1958, and appeared in an unbroken run until her last card in December 2018. Long before everyone had a home printer, Corral’s family cards were printed with letterpress, litho and latterly laser copier to universal acclaim, her final card being the 12 Days Of Christmas which she finished drawing in her care home bed at The Knoll in Kibworth in October. 

In Kibworth, Corral and Ian made the Golf Club the centre of their social life. As well as her calligraphy and cartoons gracing the posters for every event from the Whist Drive to the Donkey Derby, Corral was a star player, and became a very popular Lady Captain. 

Having seen her kids progress successfully through Kibworth High School, Corral became a School Governor, eventually sitting on the board for 23 years. And as if she wasn’t busy enough, she got involved with the Kibworth Chronicle from its inception in 1978, and participated in the production of almost every issue for the next forty years. 

Corral’s designs of mastheads, adverts, and incidental illustrations adorn nearly every Kibworth Chronicle in the archives, and she remains one of its longest serving contributors. 

In recent years she took to passing on her skills in a series of art classes, and has exhibited her work, including watercolours of many of the denizens of Kibworth and the county, regularly. Were there room enough to mention Corral & Ian’s legendary Hogmanay parties, her participation in the local choir, her many art commissions, her dancing, her international travels, and much more, then it would be included here. Suffice it to say she kept enviably busy, long after she got first notice of breast cancer at the time of her 80th birthday, and was spreading joy continuously even after she had to move into the care home in the latter half of 2018. 

She leaves two children, two grandchildren Shona & Kirsty, and hundreds of friends and relatives with nothing but fond memories of a talented artist with a mission to make people happy. 

Corral Sutherland (nee Catherine Corral Findlay), born Montrose Dec 20 1936, died Kibworth Dec 30 2018.