LADY Wardington, better known as Audrey White, a red-headed model once branded after an audition “too beautiful” to become a BBC television announcer, has died aged 87.

She failed the audition because the public broadcaster thought she would alarm “the folks in Wigan”.

Over eight heady years of success in the 1950s she regularly appeared on magazine covers and in newspaper reports and was known for her striking beauty.

After marrying stockbroker Christopher Henry Beaumont Pease – Lord Wardington – on September 9, 1964, she became Lady Wardington and moved to Wardington Manor in the village, north-east of Banbury.

By the 1980s she had set up a business, Capital and Savings Handling, for wealthy women, In 1991 she published a book – Superhints – 500 useful tips gleaned from scores of contributors, including the Royal Family, celebrities and newspaper readers responding to her appeals.

It included nuggets from the likes of Dame Judi Dench, Sue Lawley OBE and Sir Terry Wogan – who suggested dousing puppy accidents with soda water – and was in aid of Katharine House Hospice, in Adderbury.

Oxford Mail:

  • With her dog Primrose in 1991

A copy even made its way to Princess Diana as a gift from the late 11th Duke of Marlborough, former custodian of Blenheim Palace and a hospice trustee, when she opened the building in October 1991. The idea for the book had come to her after her secretary died of cancer and was cared for at a hospice.

Around their village Lord and Lady Wardington were well-loved figures, and this was dramatically illustrated in April 2004 when fire ripped through an entire wing of Wardington Manor.

At the time the couple were on holiday and had left the house in the care of their daughter, Helen, her family and the butler.

When the blaze broke out the alarm was raised by a postman and a human chain of villagers formed to save hundreds Lord Wardington’s rare books collection.

Some of the rescued atlases would later sell for millions at auction in London, but the manor was severely damaged.

After Lord Wardington’s death in 2005 aged 81, Lady Wardington moved to a smaller property in the village.

Margaret Audrey White was born on November 2, 1927 in Bradford to parents Eva and John, a commercial traveller.

When her father left the family at a young age she was brought up by her mother in North London, She went to school at Henrietta Barnett School in Finchley and at 16 took a job at the famous Elizabeth Arden salon in London’s Bond Street.

A young Miss White caught her modelling break when she met Phyllis Digby Morton, editor of Woman and Beauty, a customer at her place of work.

He invited her to come for a photoshoot and her career took off. She would be the cover girl for Women’s Own and later a fashion editor at Housewife.

She first married Jack Dunfee, one of the “Bentley Boys” – a group of wealthy British motorists who drove Bentley sports cars to race victories in the 1920s – in 1953 before marrying Lord Wardington in 1964. In Wardington she was also the chairman of Wardington Conservative Association.

Lady Wardington died on November 8. She is survived by her adopted children, Lucy, Helen and Christopher. Her funeral was at Wardington Parish Church on Tuesday, November 18.


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