top of page


More About It...

The Isabel Jay Trophy is dedicated to the memory of the D'Oyly Carte and musical comedy star Isabel Jay (read John Cannon's article in Sussex Living published in 2015  -  October 2015 Sussex Living by Sussex Living - Issuu), it was presented to the Sussex Branch of the Gilbert and Sullivan Society by her elder daughter, the Hon. Celia Mitchell Anderson, the then Chairman and later co-President. 

In 1961 the Sussex Branch of the Gilbert & Sullivan Society decided to run a competition on the same lines as the Blackmore Trophy; her daughter and husband gave this handsome solid silver rose bowl in memory of her mother, Isabel Jay, to be held for one year by the winning team. In this form the competition ran until 1980, during which time it was won by seven different Sussex operatic societies, and Haywards Heath Grammar School, in addition to smaller groups such as The Bad Barts, and ad hoc groups of enthusiasts. The event then continued for eleven more years as non-competitive Isabel Jay Galas, nine of which were part of the Brighton Festival.

For a number of years there were no more awards of the Trophy. However, with the closure of The Gilbert & Sullivan Society (Sussex Branch) it was given in 2013, together with the residue of their Trophy funds (£1000), to the then Mid-Sussex Gilbert & Sullivan Society (since renamed The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Sussex).

From November 2013 until November 2017 it was awarded at the Mid-Sussex Competitive Music Festival to the winner of a class for any Gilbert & Sullivan song, duet, trio or quartet.

Sadly, the Mid-Sussex Competitive Music Festival closed down after the 2018 event, and as a consequence the Trophy was not awarded in 2019. But The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Sussex negotiated with the Brighton Springboard Festival, and as a result, from March 2020, it was included as an Adult Class for a Gilbert & Sullivan Aria, with the winner being awarded the Isabel Jay Trophy. This ran until the competition was prevented by Covid. 

It is hoped that the competition will be re-introduced at a later stage.


  • 1961-62 - Jack Peck & Marjorie Flinn

  • 1962-63 - The Burgess Hill Operatic Society

  • 1963-64 - The Burgess Hill Operatic Society

  • 1964-65 - Gwenda Pierssene & Group

     (Jack Peck, Phillip Hall, Iris Milsom, Sylvia Hall, Marjorie Peck)

  • 1965-66 - Sylvia Baldwin, Douglas Brown, John South

        Lewes Road Operatic Society

  • 1966-67- Lewes Road Operatic Society

  • 1967-68 - Lewes Road Operatic Society

  • 1968-69 - The Worthing Congregational Players

  • 1969-70 - The Burgess Hill Operatic Society

      Roger Green, Howard Johnson, John Upfold

  • 1970-71 - Horsham Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Group:

       Brenda Cannon, Daphne Collyer, Ken Griggs, Denis O Mahony, James Harvey

  • 1971-72 - Lewes Road Operatic Society

  • 1972-73 - The Haywards Heath Grammar School and The Bad Barts

      (Jill Johnson, Roger Clow, Laurence Leng)

  • 1973-74 - Haywards Heath Operatic Society

  • 1974-75 - The Wandering Minstrels

  • 1975-76 - East Grinstead Operatic Society

  • 1976-77 - East Grinstead Operatic Society

  • 1977-78 - Lewes Road Operatic Society

  • 1979-80 - East Grinstead Operatic Society

  • 2013-14 - Dan Bulman

  • 2014-15 - Polly Beaumont

  • 2016-17 - Eleanor Grant

  • 2017-18 - Jemima Byrne

  • 2018-19 - Jemima Byrne

bottom of page