THE family of an amateur actress who has died suddenly has said everybody should be happy for her because she went out on a high.
Tributes poured onto Maxine Reece’s Facebook page after her death.
The 30-year-old was a popular member of the Court Theatre Limited and had performed in its productions at the Court Theatre since she was five years old.
Her family – dad Dave, mum Eileen and sister Gemma – enjoyed watching her talent blossom as she played a number of both comic and serious roles over the years.
Known as the life and soul of the party, Maxine didn’t let her congenital heart defect stop her from living life to the full.
During her last role playing Alice Tinker in The Vicar of Dibley last year she encouraged the team to continue with the show after her friend Ginny Faber, who was playing the lead, died of a heart attack.
Eileen said: “Dibley was Maxine’s proudest moment. When you walk out on stage and the audience applaud you before you’ve even said a word, you know that you have nailed it.
Director and longtime friend Ian Gower said: “She was a great asset to the theatre. Her everlasting enthusiasm and boundless energy is a testament to all.”
Maxine’s heart condition meant she couldn’t breathe well and used a mobility scooter to get around. She would have eventually needed a heart and lung transplant.
Outside of the theatre Maxine worked as a child care assistant at Heath Lane Children’s Club in Hemel Hempstead and last year bought her first flat, another of her proudest moments.
Her dad Dave said: “She was 30 last year and had a huge party. She achieved total independence. She had her flat, her cat Lulu, her car, job and a big circle of friends.”
Eileen added: “She was the happiest she has ever been in her life and it wasn’t always going to be that way. Her future was uncertain.
“She went out on a high and everybody should be happy for her. That’s what’s giving us a lot of strength.”
Maxine’s funeral will be held at West Herts Crematorium on Monday, May 7 at 12pm and will be followed by a celebration of her life at The Court Theatre.
Instead of flowers the family have asked for donations to the Evalina Children’s Heart Organisation.