ONE of Wrexham's most loved and respected theatre directors has died at the age of 68.

Robina Duckett, known as Robbie, was one of the longest-serving members of Wrexham's Grove Park Theatre and friends at the group said her enthusiasm for the stage was an inspiration to all.

The former teacher was found dead at her home in Edward Street, Wrexham, where she had lived for most of her life.

Friends said they had not seen her or been able to contact her for a couple of days, and when police forced their way into the house they found her dead in a chair.

Miss Duckett was an accomplished actress and director at the theatre, and was currently responsible for selecting the plays.

Last month, she directed the successful Faith Healer and, at the time of her death, was involved in Noel Coward's Present Laughter, which opened at the Grove Park Theatre last week.

During her many years at the theatre, she founded the thriving youth section and ran it for several years.

Before she retired, Miss Duckett taught English and Drama at Grove Park Girls' Grammar School, and later became a teacher for the deaf.

She also worked for Talking Books, recording stories on tape for the blind.

Val Stevenson, chairman of Grove Park Theatre, said: 'I have known Robbie for 25 years. She did a great deal for the group and will be sadly missed.

'She cared a lot for the theatre, and as a director, strived to get the best out of everybody on stage. She was a real perfectionist.

'Among her other talents, Robbie was able to do sign language and many years ago she taught a whole cast to sign for a play.

'The opening night of Present Laughter was a sombre and sad occasion.'

Mona Stansfield, also one of the longestserving members of the Grove Park Theatre and herself an actress and director, added: 'Robbie was highly talented and greatly respected. It was a shock to all of us when we heard what had happened. 'It is a great loss to the theatre and we shall miss her expertise and friendship. She was a lovely person.'

Miss Duckett's only close relative is her cousin John Duckett, bandmaster of Wrexham Salvation Army Band, who is making the funeral arrangements.