Woman who contributed to her village news letter for 40 years, and designed the packaging for Clackers, dies in Kibworth

Corral Sutherland
Corral Sutherland

A woman known for her art and contributions to her village's news has passed away aged 82.

Corral Sutherland, who has died just ten days after her 82nd birthday, is remembered by friends and family around the world, particularly in her birthplace of Montrose, Scotland and in Kibworth, Leicestershire, her home for the past fifty years.

Corral at her graduation

Corral at her graduation

Corral Findlay was the first of her family to go to university, studying at Edinburgh College of Art in the 1950s where, legendarily, her life model was Sean Connery. Sadly none of her drawings of the ginger-haired milkman in a posing pouch had survived her mother’s tidying up by the time she had met and married Ian Sutherland and set up home in Aberdeen.

With their two children, Kev and Jude, the family moved to Leicestershire, living first in Evington then settling for the long term in Kibworth.

Having put her art college training to good use as a graphic artist, while simultaneously raising the two kids, Corral’s work as an illustrator would be familiar to the aficionados of such tomes as the Wolseley knitwear catalogue, and her draughtswomanship captured the details of machine parts and shoe patterns long before computer-aided design was dreamt of.

Corral’s design work included the original packaging for a product made by Invicta Plastics of Oadby in 1971, which children of the day will remember fondly, the knuckle-shattering hi-tech conkers they called Clackers. Legend tells that the original working title for this toy, when Corral designed its first wrapping, was 'Knackers'.

Many friends and relatives will be familiar with Corral’s homemade Christmas cards, a tradition that began with her solo card in 1957, continued with Corral and Ian’s first joint effort in 1958, and appeared in an unbroken run until her last card in December 2018.

Long before everyone had a home printer, Corral’s family cards were printed with letterpress, litho and latterly laser copier to universal acclaim, her final card being the 12 Days Of Christmas which she finished drawing in her care home bed at The Knoll in Kibworth in October."In Kibworth, Corral and Ian made the Golf Club the centre of their social life. As well as her calligraphy and cartoons gracing the posters for every event from the Whist Drive to the Donkey Derby, Corral was a star player, and became a very popular Lady Captain.

Having seen her kids progress successfully through Kibworth High School, Corral became a School Governor, eventually sitting on the board for 23 years. And as if she wasn’t busy enough, she got involved with the Kibworth Chronicle from its inception in 1978, and participated in the production of almost every issue for the next forty years.

Corral’s designs of mastheads, adverts, and incidental illustrations adorn nearly every Kibworth Chronicle in the archives, and she remains one of its longest-serving contributors.

In recent years she took to passing on her skills in a series of art classes, and has exhibited her work, including watercolours of many of the denizens of Kibworth and the county, regularly.

Were there room enough to mention Corral and Ian’s legendary Hogmanay parties, her participation in the local choir, her many art commissions, her dancing, her international travels, and much more, then it would be included here. Suffice it to say she kept enviably busy, long after she got first notice of breast cancer at the time of her 80th birthday, and was spreading joy continuously even after she had to move into the care home in the latter half of 2018.

She leaves two children, two grandchildren Shona and Kirsty, and hundreds of friends and relatives with nothing but fond memories of a talented artist with a mission to make people happy.