Chris “Dale” Birkett -
Foxglove was always my second favourite character in the Rescue Rangers, after Dale. I had only seen her in one episode (at the time I didn't know if she would be in any others) but I loved her. She was sweet, she was shy, and she was kind. How could you not like a character like that? Unfortunately she also had a tremendous feeling or worthlessness, not helped by supposed friends. That made me feel very sorry for her.
I also liked the idea of her fancying Dale as in the romantic stakes, I felt that Gadget was always going to choose Chip over Dale, and then Dale would be left on his own (and being my favourite character I wasn't fond of that happening!) Then along came this lady who liked Dale even though he was often accused by others of being a "goof up" or other such things. She didn't mind, she liked him! For about nine episodes after that I was waiting for her to come back and have some more adventures (after all, at the end of the episode she was still there flying with Dale, not going into the sunset or whatever). However, she never came back.
Subsequently after access to the internet and the myriad of fan-fics bringing Dale and Foxglove together, it was nice to see that other people also liked her - she even had her own website! From time to time people who had worked on the show happened to post on the Cafe, which always caused quite a thrill, especially when they were complimentary about the community, so when Deborah Walley's agent Marty, and then Ms Walley herself took it upon themselves to post, the community was buzzing. I had to email this lady! She had voiced one of my favourite characters in the show so email I did.
I remember when she replied to my first email (being me, it was ludicrously long winded) but reply she did and didn't mind the long-windedness! We were going to meet someday I think, she had ancestry in Scotland and Wales and wanted to come over here and, when she did, we would have to meet. (Hominahominahomina....)
We sent each other a Christmas card (and as I was in New York at the time I sent her a Happy new year email - when she replied she assured me she was not jealous of all the partying - she was having a quiet time at home and thoroughly enjoying it too!). I would let her know how my studies were going, and she would update me on her book and her theatre projects. I still have copies of those emails, which I treasure. I was really looking forward to meeting her. I was sad that I only knew her in her guise as Foxglove and Lawhinnie in the Rescue Rangers - she had done an awful lot before, her biggest feat appearing with Elvis Presley (the photo I recently found in the paper is from the set of "Life in the Fast Lane"). However, I did a bit of looking around and found out about some of the other stuff she'd done.
Then I received a letter from Marty saying she was not well, and when I got on to the Cafe found out that it was potentially serious. The pace that things occurred thoroughly shocked me as just a few months before she had been so full of fun and very busy with the book tour and everything. Jaleel had the idea to make up a great big card with everyone’s messages and contributions, which people did enthusiastically. Not being well endowed in the skills department, I simply sent a little message to be included.
The speed of events thoroughly surprised us all when we received the awful news that Deborah had died. Jaleel was very upset that the card had not been finished at this point, although he still sent it when finished to her family, something that I believe they appreciated very much. In the tribute he made up on his site afterwards, I decided to send in a song suggestion (song suggestions are the one thing I have contributed at the feature) of "Somewhere over the Rainbow" as I had recently heard a version sung by Eva Cassidy that had simply astounded me.
I'm deeply sorry that I never got to meet Deborah in person, after our emails I felt that we got on well (she kept on returning them!) and was looking forward to her coming over whenever she did. I had even imagined us meeting at the Airport and stuff :-) I am very grateful that she did decide to post here, and then chat to individual members of the community also, she brought us all here a lot of joy, recognizing all these people who liked a childrens cartoon that had finished ten years before - and commenting very favourably on the fan work members had completed (she also got her script writing friend, Dev Ross to post and she was similarly impressed!). She was a wonderful, kind, sparkling, enthusiastic and thoughtful individual (a bit like Foxy really!) and I am honoured to have known her - if only in the virtual world.