Sara Coward provided the voice of Caroline Bone, later Pemberton and most recently Sterling from 1979 until her death last weekend.
Sara was spotted by the BBC at Guildhall School of Music and Drama and awarded one of the Carleton Hobbs bursaries which provided funds and a six month contract of employment with BBC Drama Repertory company as well as the Equity card needed in those days. Outside of The Archers Sara had a varied career and many plum roles – Lady MacBeth, Amanda in Private Lives, Mrs Warren in Mrs Warren’s Profession and Lady Bracknell, plus Sally Bowles in Cabaret. On the West End stage she was particularly proud of not missing a beat when working with Dorothy Tutin when the iRA exploded a bomb outside and also brought an Edinburgh Fringe production to London – “Let the Good Stones Roll” in which she played Marianne Faithfull and Bianca Jagger. She also toured a two woman show with Sunny Ormande.
Sara spent a number of years as a Samaritan in Stratford-on-Avon, sometimes being spotted as Caroline Sterling, and fundraising for Water Aid.
In 2009 she had a hand in rescuing in wounded lurcher called Sati and in 2013 she wrote a small book – Dialogues with my Dog – of some of the funnier episodes she has enjoyed with him. That book is still available.
It is not yet clear if Caroline will also be leaving us. Sara herself hoped that Michael Cochrane’s wife (he plays Oliver Sterling) might replace her when she was talking to the Radio Times about her three month prognosis as she felt that the character could continue. So we must wait and see what – if Caroline does leave permanently I will return with a review of her life.
Sadly Sara is outlived by her mother and also she has a brother. Their loss is greater than ours I am sure and may our thoughts go to them at this time.