5 December, 2008 was a Black Friday for the animation world with the passing of Pat Raine Webb. Pat died of a massive heart attack on a London bus with Margot Grimwood, her companion of many happy years by her side. Her passing is a great loss to all of us who knew and loved her.
Although Pat was not a household name to film goers, for any member of the animation community she and Margot were an important presence for the international animation world. Pat was president of ASIFA-UK and for many years she and Margot kept the chapter alive almost single handedly in the UK. They wrote, edited, and mailed Dope Sheet, the chapter’s newsletter. As a member of the ASIFA International Board, Pat worked tirelessly to support established animators and spread the gospel of animation around the world. Perhaps her greatest contribution was the support and encouragement that she gave to young animators. As a senior board member her opinions and observations have been of great value to her fellow board members.
Her entrée into the world of ASIFA and animation festivals began in 1977 when Pat became Executive Assistant to John Halas at the renowned Halas and Batchelor Studio, Britain’s leading animation house. She remained there for the next 15 years helping John Halas run ASIFA while he was president and representing him at animation festivals around the world.
Over her more than 30 years in the animation industry Pat has become a widely respected writer appearing in such respected publications as AWN.COM, ANIMATOONS, and ASIFA’S publication CARTOON. As a freelance researcher she has generously shared her vast store of knowledge with me and was never too busy to answer a question or check a fact that I was not sure of.
Pat and Margot were festival regulars and wherever you found this dynamic duo, fun would not be far behind. Her critical appraisals of films were always eagerly awaited and her fun loving presence always assured a good time. Anyone who had the pleasure of spending time with Pat and Margot at festivals will remember them laughing, dancing and singing the night away.
I will never forget the look of horror and then amusement as Margot and I burst into a duet of the song Sisters from the film White Christmas at the 2006 Zagreb Festival picnic. In 2007 I was delighted to be on the jury with both Pat and Margot at the BAF International Animation Festival held at the British Media Museum in Bradford, England. We had such a grand time together watching film and giggling like three girls.
Besides her passion for animation, Pat was an accomplished poet, with over 1,000 works to her name. She also loved rabbits.
Over the years Pat, Margot and I have become dear friends. I’ll miss her wit and wisdom but even more I will miss her almost daily e-mails about what the ladies had eaten and drunk at their favorite Italian restaurant or sharing a funny thought that had made one or the other of us laugh.
Pat’s passing is a great loss to all of us who knew and loved her. My heart goes out to her partner and soul mate Margot. Letters of condolence can be sent to her at:
Ms. Margot Grimwood
94 Norton Gardens
SW16 4TA London
(Photos courtesy of Vivian Halas)