Former Emmerdale actress Coral Atkins dies

Coral Atkins

by Owen Tonks |
Published on

Coral Atkins, who was known for her role as Ruth Jameson in Emmerdale and as Sheila Ashton in A Family At War, has died after a short battle with cancer.

The actress also appeared in Coronation Street, The Sweeney, Survivors and Dixon of Dock Green.

She was known for a number of television appearances over the years but also tirelessly worked to see up a home for disadvantaged children.

Coral set up the home Crossways in Hoe Benham in 1971 and was popular with locals for her work there.

The star’ son Harry Whitehead said his mother would be remembered for her “forceful personality” and because she became a “major part of Newbury’s recent history”.

She was born in London in 1938 and moved to Bucklebury with her parents as a child.

When she grew older she became an established actress on stage and screen.

Coral Atkins

She was viewed by many in television soap Emmerdale before leaving to start her work with children and cared for 37 children at the home, as well as another in Gloucestershire.

Her son Harry told Newbury Today: “She was a remarkably powerful character.

“She was completely fearless as she faced the end of her days, telling me, ‘There’s no tragedy in an 80-year-old woman dying’.”

The story of Coral’s work with children was made into an ITV drama called Seeing Red in 2000 after the book of the same name, which was published in 1990.

Of her work, her son said: “It never stopped being a battle from start to finish.

“Then she decided to set up the home she had no university education and no experience in childcare.

“She went on a child psychology course in Manchester and then moved back to where she grew up to set up the home.”

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