Shoreham bade a fond farewell on 11 January to Marilyn Stafford, celebrated photographer and long-time resident of the town who died, aged 97, on 2 January 2023. Led by Lina Clerke, Marilyn’s daughter and her husband Titus, a procession of family and friends took her colourful coffin through the town, decorated with flowers and with musical accompaniment from the Agitators band, New Orleans style.
Mourners gathered outside the SOLD charity shop on the High Street, which has a window display of Marilyn’s wonderful photographs. The cortège continued along the High Street to the War memorial in East Street for songs, dancing and tributes to Marilyn before the formal funeral took place in Brighton.
Marilyn lived an exciting and varied life. Born in Ohio, USA, Marilyn’s first photograph was of Albert Einstein in 1948 when she was a student in New York. She was a nightclub singer in Paris mixing with Edith Piaf and Charles Aznavour. Her portraits feature models such as Twiggy and Joanna Lumley alongside film stars such as Lee Marvin.
Marilyn had a strong sense of social justice and reported about refugees in Tunisia and civil war victims when accompanying Indira Gandhi in India.
For many years her remarkable legacy of photographs were left untouched and rarely mentioned. Marilyn was an active member of the local community in Shoreham; she had a passion for poetry, organising the Adur Poetry trail and was a founder member of Shoreham Wordfest.
In recent years her reputation has had a late renaissance with exhibitions and international recognition for her photography, thanks to dedicated work by her daughter, Lina, and Nina Emett of FotoDocument. We are also hoping to establish a “Poetry Corner” in Shoreham town as a permanent tribute to her.
Marilyn’s photos remain on display in the window display at SOLD charity shop and some are on permanent display in the eye hospital at Southlands Hospital. There is more information on her life and photography here :