Arnold always reminded me of Tenniel's illustration of the White Knight in Alice in Wonderland, and like the White Knight, Arnold was valiant. He was one of the founder members of Archers Addicts and I can see him now crying ‘Don’t forget the VAT!’ as we costed our first merchandise Good advice as we all knew very little about business when we started out.
Arnold had an expanding loft full of magical props and bits and pieces from all the projects in which he was involved. Needed a harp, velvet curtains, a lecturn? Arnold’s eyes would light up, ‘Yes, we’ve got one of those,’ he’d exclaim, or ‘I know where we can get that!’ making another note to add to all the other ones in his brief-case. He was always positive, full of ideas, ready for anything. His enthusiasm was infectious and he could certainly work an audience. I’ll never forget the chorus of a song he found for The Ambridge Pageant – our stage show written by Edward Kelsey, (Joe Grundy), which we toured in the early days of Archers Addicts. The song was accompanied by gestures and he managed to get his entire audience to wiggle their hands on the top of their heads whilst shouting out ‘And the cows went moo moo moo!’ Magic!
Arnold originally played Len the Shepherd in The Archers and was able to return as a completely different character some years later - one of the virtues of radio. As Jack Woolley Arnold hob-knobbed with royalty, welcoming Princess Margaret to Grey Gables, and courted and won Peggy Archer. He was such a handsome man and played the part perfectly, lending himself to all our conventions and chatting to Archers fans with great ease and charm. I used to tease him about his local admirers too as he was great at organising charity events, pantomimes, plays - you name it! He acted his recent Alzheimer storyline with huge delicacy and there wasn't a dry eye in the house, something which pleased him enormously. It was a case of life imitating art when Arnold was diagnosed with Alzheimers too, ironic and profoundly poignant.
Larger than life, old school, loving all that he did, Arnold created an Archers icon while becoming one in real life too. All our thoughts and love go to his wife Beryl, family and friends. He will be much missed.