Anne Miles, who joined forces with her husband Ian in 1989 to found Abbey Home Entertainment, has sadly passed away.
Anne, who with Ian was one of the driving forces in the world of music and children's entertainment for nearly 50 years, was born in Morecambe, Lancashire in 1939. She started her career at the Morecambe Visitor, reporting on what was known in the trade as hatches, matches and despatches (births, marriages and deaths).
After leaving the Morecambe Visitor she ran her own fashion boutique called Chequers and then went to work as Head of PR for Mecca on The Miss World Championships.
It was here, in 1972, that Anne met Ian. Together they would go on to become a tour de force in the entertainment industry.
After successfully running a company selling excess stock for music labels such as EMI, Decca, Pie, CBS and RCA, Anne and Ian bought two record factories and set up their own company called Multiple Sounds Distribution. This company was catapulted to success following an agreement between Anne, Ian and Richard Branson to manufacture and distribute Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells.
In the early 70s, the couple subsequently started one of Britain’s most successful music labels, Warwick Records, selling millions of albums from artists, such as Tony Bennett, Bing Crosby, Howard Keel, Tammy Wynette and Bert Weedon. They were pioneers of the music industry and established music labels for both Woolworths and Boots. Warwick Records was also innovative in being the first company to release an exercise album with ITV’s fitness guru Lizzie Webb.
In 1989, Anne and Ian brought all of their experience and expertise to children's home entertainment by founding Abbey Home Entertainment (AHE). AHE became producers of top-quality children’s programmes with Tempo Video, and later both production and distribution with Abbey Home Media.
Abbey was the first company to take children’s classic books from authors such as Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton and Michael Bond and produce them on video. Abbey was also the first to sell book and cassette gift packs for children. The company had huge success with the Ninja Turtles, My Little Pony, Transformers, Paddington Bear, Peter Rabbit, Horrid Henry, Sooty, In The Night Garden, Mr Men, Fireman Sam, and many more.
In addition to the commercial business, Anne and Ian also supported many charitable initiatives, including BBC Children In Need, NSPCC, Walking With The Wounded, Dogs Trust, Cancer Research, among others.
Anne leaves her daughter Francesca, son-in-law Patrick and grandchildren Sam and Livvie, along with her extended family in Morecambe and her work family at Abbey who will all miss her dearly. A thanksgiving memorial service will be planned when time allows in London.
Emma Evans, former sales and acquisitions director at Abbey Home Media: “I am heartbroken to lose our beloved Anne, she was such an extraordinary lady who led a remarkable life and she was without doubt one of the most kindest individuals I have ever had the privilege to love and to know. Anne and Ian have been my two guiding lights over the last 20 years, and I have been blessed to work for them and to become part of the Abbey Family. Anne’s boundless energy, drive and passion was infectious and inspiring, and she will always own a special place in my heart that will be hers alone.
“I also recognise that although we would all want Anne to desperately still be with us, none of us would want her to endure any prolonged period of suffering and so we thank God that he has set her soul free so she can take her rightful place by her beloved Ian’s side where she will remain for all eternity.
“I will miss you dearest Anne more than words could ever say, so sleep peacefully my dearest friend… until we meet again.”