SIR: Reading the report of Dame Judi Dench visit to the Theatre Royal recently (to support Home-Start Winchester) reminded me of her two previous visits.

On the first occasion she was again with her biographer John Miller and on the second occasion she brought actors Bill Nighy and the late Ian Richardson with her. On this visit I was the house manager and one of my duties was to look after our guests. After the performance I was in charge of ‘drinks’. In a conversation with her she said “what a pretty little theatre you have in Winchester”. I thanked her for her kind ‘words’ - she then added “your are all so friendly”. I replied that, maybe, it was because nearly all Front of House and some working backstage were volunteers. Dame Judi thought for a moment and then said “tell them from me that they are doing a grand job and thank you for looking after us so well tonight”. I did as she said and the volunteers were so pleased to receive that message. A lovely lady.

Phil Yates,

Tower Street,