Sally Fletcher
Sally Fletcher
Portrayed by Kate Ritchie
Duration 1988-2008
First appearance 17 January 1988
Last appearance 3 April 2008
Episode 4609
Nickname(s) Sal
Gender Female
Occupation Principal, Teacher, Foster mother
Residence Phuket

Sally Louise Fletcher (née Copeland, previously Keating) is a fictional character from the Australian soap opera Home and Away, played throughout by actress Kate Ritchie. She was the longest running original female cast member appearing from the Pilot episode on 17 January, 1988 until 3 April, 2008.

Development and production[]

Kate Ritchie said of her role, "I well and truly know the girl that is Sally Fletcher. If only I had realised earlier she wasn't my enemy, she wasn't the embarrassing little sister always trying to spoil my fun but, in fact, the best friend I ever had....In my Logie acceptance speech last year I said Home and Away had always been my constant and the same goes for Sally. We have spent the past 20 years side by side....Sally is a good person. She is the true meaning of the word good, often a quality that goes unnoticed and is most definitely underrated. Sounds crazy, but it is true."[1]

Character's background[]

When Sally Fletcher was young her mother, Diana, separated from her alcoholic father and refused to let him see their twin children. Believing he would not have a chance with the family court, Aaron Copeland took matters into his own hands and took off with his son, but left his daughter behind as he didn't think the road was any place for a girl. Diana changed her and Sally's name from Copeland to Keating (Diana's maiden name), and then married Derek Wilson. Not long after, Diana and Derek were killed in a boating accident and Sally went to live with her maternal grandmother. Unfortunately, Mrs Keating developed Alzheimer's Disease a few years later. When it was discovered that Sally was missing school to care of her grandmother, she was placed in a children's home while her grandmother went to a nursing home. Sally was soon fostered by Tom and Pippa Fletcher. In the confusion that was her early childhood, Sally forgot about her brother and father (believing the stepfather who had died with her mother was her real father). However she had an imaginary friend named Milco that she had invented to help herself cope with her losses. What nobody at the time knew though was that Milco was in fact the nickname of Sally's twin, and this "imaginary friend" was the representation of the brother she had lost and forgotten.

Summer Bay: 1988 - 2000[]

Sally was one of Tom and Pippa's original foster children when they moved to Summer Bay, along with Carly Lucini, Steven Matheson, Frank Morgan, and Lynn Davenport. She would remain a mainstay in the family as others came and went around her. Of the others, she was closest to Sophie Simpson, Sam Marshall, and Shannon Reed. Her other close childhood friend was Lance Smart, who lived with his mother in a mobile home at the caravan park.

Sally was also unusual in that she was still pre-teen when Tom and Pippa fostered her and she was the only one they adopted. Not long after however Tom died. A year later, Pippa remarried to Michael Ross. After an uncomfortable start, Sally accepted him but it was not unknown for her to remind him she had been part of the family longer than him. More tragedy was to follow for the family with the deaths of Sally's adoptive brother Dale, a victim of sudden infant death syndrome, and her foster sister Bobby Marshall in a boating accident.

Sally's first crush was on Damian Roberts, her foster brother, and she even went as far as to kiss him while he lay sleeping. She seemed more likely to succeed with Joe Lynch, a boy in the year above her. Although he initially seemed interested, when he found out Sally, who was taking maths classes with the year ahead, was a favourite of his mother Teresa, the school's deputy head, he took against her on principle, bullying and humiliating her at every opportunity. It took a long time for Sally to make anyone realise what was going on but finally succeeded when Donald Fisher caught Joe in the act of throwing ink into her locker (Sally eventually forgave Joe, although only after some much deserved payback).

Sally's first boyfriend was Gus Bishop, the younger brother of her teacher Donna, but his wild boy antics, including setting fire to Jack Wilson's, guitar soon proved too much for her. She later dated Nelson MacFarlane, Irene Roberts' nephew, but although they seemed happy together he was quick to cut her out when he was badly burned in a fire and had to leave town for treatment. Ironically Sally then started seeing Jack, who was partly to blame for the fire. However, when Sally wanted to let Brendan, a troubled young man who had abandoned his baby, use the caravan that Michael and Pippa had given them for privacy Jack refused. Sally was annoyed by his selfishness and broke up with him.

Probably the most bizarre incident in Sally's life was when, on her seventeenth birthday, she encountered Moss, a man staying at the caravan park who believed she was the reincarnation of his daughter who had died seventeen years earlier, in a car accident when he had been driving. Certain evidence seemed to back up his claim: Sally remembered the song he used to sing her to her, even though she had never heard it before, and said goodbye to him in the exact same way. When Sally and Shannon went for a drive with Moss, they found themselves reliving the accident, when another car forced them off the road (the driver was never revealed and was definitely not Dodge who'd been dead for a year at the time). This time, however, Moss made sure he was the one who died. Sally saw this as him being given a second chance to save her life.

Soon after, Michael drowned while saving Sam's life and Sally (who had once run away from home when Michael and Pippa seemed to be splitting up) lost a 'father' for the forth time. Sal had always suffered from low self-esteem and began to feel unattractive and unliked with no close friends. Despite campaigning hard for a representative school council, she was passed over by her peers for a place on it. She made a play for Curtis Reed, who didn't even seem to notice, then let another boy, Charlie, kiss her even though she didn't like him. Finally in an attempt to cheer her up Shannon and Selina took her for a trip on a raft that Liam Tanner and Joey Rainbow had made from polystyrene. It sank and Sally was separated from the others. She was found by Jamie Grace, a backwards man who had been living as a virtual hermit since he was forced out of town for inadvertently causing a boy's death. Sally spent days effectively trapped in the woods, suffering from a fever and unable to convince Jamie of the seriousness of her condition, until she was finally rescued by Steven.

Sally began seeing Tim O'Connor and became closer to him than any other boyfriend previous, losing her virginity to him. However, he was then arrested when it was found he had been helping smuggle in illegal immigrants (his Vietnamese stepmother's family rather than for profit). Having lost the person she was closest to, Sally self-destructed, hanging out with bad boy Scott Irwin (played by Heath Ledger), sleeping with him and using Pippa's position as school secretary to steal exam papers for him. Her already strong sense of guilt was compounded when Tim returned to town, the charges having been dropped. Angry at Sally for getting them caught, Scott stole from Donald Fisher's office and planted the items in Sally's locker to frame her. However, Aaron Welles saw what he was doing and moved them to Scott's locker so he was caught and expelled. When Scott attacked Sally in the surf club for revenge, Tim came to her rescue and the pair were reconciled.

When Pippa decided to leave town to live with her new boyfriend Ian Routledge, Sally assumed she would let her and Tim move into the house. She was angry when instead she asked Travis and Rebecca Nash to move in so they could look after the other foster children, seeing it as Pippa putting the needs of those who hadn't been there as long before hers. However, she and Tim weren't to last much longer; he became insanely jealous, quizzing both her and Sam about her past boyfriends. When he saw her hugging Travis, he began spreading stories that Travis liked young girls. It was enough to break up him and Sally and see him run out of town.

Leaving home[]

With Pippa gone and Sally now at uni and not much younger than Travis and Rebecca, she found herself considered one of the adults of the house. Uncomfortable with the responsibility, she moved in with Vinnie Patterson and Jesse McGregor. She then started dating Sean Ellis, a much older man who had a daughter, Daria, who was not much younger than Sally (and dating Sam, her foster brother). Sally managed to win over Daria by sticking up for her when her mother Tanya neglected her but by then she and Sean were virtually over, since he had slept with Tanya during her brief visit. Around the same time, Sally was accidentally shot by a drifter named Murray during an armed robbery at the Diner but suffered only minor injuries.

Sally and Vinnie were astonished when they found themselves developing feelings for each other and started dating. However, although they softened each other's hard edges a bit, they were ultimately too different and split.

Summer Bay: 2000 - 2006[]

When Vinnie accused her of being boring, Sally set off on a trip to Ireland and returned with a fiancé, Kieran Fletcher. Upset when Vinnie's jibes didn't stop, Sally moved in with Shauna Bradley and Leah Poulos. Ironically, since Vinnie was seeing Leah he was there most of the time anyway.

As their wedding day approached, Sally seemed oblivious to Kieran's many faults, including trying to pressure Joel Nash into selling them the caravan park. She was halfway through her vows when Gypsy Nash stood up and announced Kieran had been making advances towards her. Although Sally initially blamed Gypsy, she quickly realised she had stopped her making a mistake. She was still, bizarrely, briefly suspected of stalking Gypsy some months later. (The culprit was actually Kirsten, a girl who blamed Gypsy for the death of her ex-boyfriend.)

The incident with Kieran left Sally suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder. Kieran's best man, Luke Harvey, arrived in town to try and make up for what had happened and helped Sally through her troubles. The pair soon developed feelings for each other and became engaged.

Meanwhile, Sally had decided to abandon her plans to become an archaeologist (mainly because she liked Summer Bay too much) and turned towards teaching. Her performance in teaching practise didn't impress Don Fisher but Judith Ackroyd was still principal so appointed Sally as Summer Bay High's new history teacher.

In all the time they had been engaged, Sally and Luke had hardly seen each other. A kiss from Harry Reynolds, mainly to prove she wasn't above temptation, led her to realise the inevitable and she called it off. She then began seeing one of her new colleagues, Brett Egan. While Sally was grateful to be in a less intensive relationship for once, Brett, who had had a bad experience at Summer Bay during teaching practise, had a lot of issues to work through, especially when Sally and her class were briefly taken hostage by a crazed student, Hamish "Woody" Woodford. When she saw him pushing Noah Lawson, Sally felt she had no option but to report Brett, ending his time in Summer Bay and their relationship.

When Vinnie and Leah got married, Gypsy ended up taking over Leah's room and, much to their surprise, she and Sally became good friends. Sally was the first to realise Gypsy's ex-boyfriend Will Smith was the father of her unborn baby and helped her through her pregnancy, even going to birthing classes with her. She also had a brief fling with Tom Nash, Gypsy's brother.

When Flynn Saunders began working at the Drop-In Centre, he and Sally soon found themselves attracted to each other and it blossomed into a serious romance. Sally was angry when she found out Shauna had effectively asked Flynn to cheat on her with her and never forgave her for the betrayal. When a drug dealer turned up at the Drop-In Centre looking for Flynn's sister Ashley, Sally sustained some slight injuries but while in hospital it was discovered she had ovarian cancer and she was forced to have a hysterectomy. Sally felt not having children would mean the end for her and Flynn until Carly reminded her they both grew up without their natural family and they could be the same.

Sally, along with several other Summer Bay residents, was lost at sea when a boat trip to celebrate the town's 150th anniversary capsized. Washed ashore, she was stranded in the bush with Sophie and Blake for two days before their friends rescued them.

With Gypsy and Shauna both having left town, Sally found herself sharing with Charlotte Adams and was left as a spectator when first Charlotte's boyfriend Jude Lawson left her for Shauna, who had briefly returned to town, and was then drowned while swimming. Having lost someone else close to her, Sally agreed to let Flynn move in.

Prior to the hysterectomy, Sally had had her eggs frozen and suggested she and Flynn have a baby. First they needed a surrogate mother and after a few false starts, with both an old school friend named Tara who turned out to have recently lost a daughter and Angie Russell putting themselves forward, Sophie agreed to do it. The egg implantation was a success but at the first ultrasound it was discovered Sophie was carrying two babies with different parents: one was Sally and Flynn's, the other Blake and Sophie's. Soon after Sophie miscarried Sally and Flynn's baby.

Don Fisher had obviously revised his opinion of Sally's teaching skills since he made her acting principal when he left the Bay. Sally had to contend with a dirty tricks campaign organised by Angie Russell, who thought the post should have been hers, including locking Sally alone in the school in order to trigger her OCD. After stepping down in favour of the new principal, Paris Burnett, Sally played a key role in producing evidence that Angie had tried to seduce one of her students, Nick Smith, and lied about him assaulting her.

Now confirmed as deputy principal, Sally found herself clashing with Paris' successor, Barry Hyde, and ended up helping a group of students staging a sit-in slip away quietly when he tried to set the police on them. Eventually, however, they became friends.

Sally and Flynn became engaged after he proposed to her in front of her class dressed as a schoolboy. Despite some typical wedding day dramas (including the horse and cart on which Sally was travelling to the wedding going out of control with her and Leah trapped aboard), the wedding eventually went ahead. Ironically on the same day Sophie gave birth to her son David, the child that could have been Sally's.

Sally and Flynn's family was completed when Leah offered to be a surrogate mother for them. Sally seemed to turn a blind eye to the various hiccups during Leah's pregnancy (including Flynn and Leah kissing) and named the resulting daughter Pippa after her beloved adopted mother. The new family was almost immediately taken hostage by crazed drug addict Sarah Lewis, along with half of Summer Bay. Soon after that debacle Sally finally moved back into the house at the caravan park where she had grown up after she and Flynn purchased it from Beth Hunter. To confirm her place as the "new Pippa", Sally soon began fostering Ric Dalby, Alf Stewart's grandson and, a short time later, Cassie Turner, who had been left alone after her grandmother died.

The pair's arrival coincided with probably the most traumatic few months of Sally's life, as she was pushed from a ladder by the so-called "Summer Bay Stalker" and hospitalised, then on being released from hospital suffered a brain haemorrhage and was hospitalised again, during which time someone tampered with her life support machine and tried to kill her. Shortly after being released from hospital the second time, she was abducted by the culprit, Eve Jacobsen (who had been posing as a nurse named Zoe McAllister), and left tied up in an abandoned building filling with gas, only narrowly escaping the resulting explosion. No sooner was that crisis over than Diesel Williams, a pupil with a crush who Sally had unwisely asked to stay with them, claimed he and Sally had had an affair. Sally was investigated by both the police and the Department of Education before being effectively held prisoner in her own home by Diesel, who grabbed Pippa and ordered Sally to admit she loved him. After Diesel was overpowered by Flynn, he confessed the truth.

Soon after, Flynn was diagnosed with skin cancer and his condition pronounced too advanced to operate. There then followed a slow deterioration of his health until he died with Sally at his side. Realising how lonely she was as a result, Alf Stewart, who had become like a father to Sally, moved in with her and her family. His granddaughter Martha MacKenzie also lived with them for a time but she eventually decided she wanted her independence and moved back to the Diner flat.

There was an immediate spark between Sally and Brad Armstrong, who had replaced Barry as principal, so Sally was disappointed to find him marrying another woman, Emily. However, she soon learned Emily, in a situation eerily similar to her and Flynn, was dying from Leukemia. Before she died, Emily asked Sally to look after Brad and despite their both being recently bereaved they eventually started seeing each other.

Sally's "project" during this time was Rocco Cooper, a former gang member who she had agreed to enrol at the school over Brad's objections. Sally did her best to help Rocco turn his life round, even letting him move in with her family. Ultimately, however, she was unsuccessful as Rocco was increasingly (albeit unwillingly) drawn back into his brother Johnny's world. When Rocco managed to get Johnny and the gang arrested, Johnny threatened to kill him if he didn't get rid of Sally, blaming her for their rift. Rocco stabbed Sally and left her for dead but she survived

Summer Bay: 2007 - 2008[]

Johnny then had Rocco killed anyway. Sally's misery was compounded when Ric was briefly imprisoned for Rocco's murder, although he was soon cleared. The incident brought Sally and Brad closer and he moved in.

After being deputy under three principals, Sally finally got the top job when Brad was forced to step down over his mishandling of the Naomi Preston affair. Refused permission to appoint Brad her deputy, Sally instead gave the job to Don Fisher. However, it quickly became clear he wasn't up to it and when he lost two students on a school trip he resigned before Sally was forced to sack him.

Brad took stock of his life and proposed to Sally — only for her to turn him down. However when he was briefly lost at sea, along with Alf, Dan and Ric, she changed her mind and accepted. She almost immediately began to regret it and when the wedding day dawned she decided she couldn't go through with it, partly because she didn't want to stop being married to Flynn. She assumed everything could go on as normal but instead Brad moved out and Sally became estranged from both him and his sister Rachel Armstrong. With Ric and Cassie both away Sally almost went to pieces but their return helped her through it. Sally got a chance to redeem herself when she offered a home to Tamsyn, Brad and Rachel's previously unknown half-sister who had been dumped on them, but was disappointed when instead of taking notice of her hints he should move back in as well Brad instead found a place for him and Tamsyn to live on their own.

Sally was devastated when Pippa was run over by Alf and even though she made a full recovery she found it hard to forgive him, prompting him to effectively move onto his boat. When she found Leah and Colleen planning a surprise welcome home party, Sally was angry, saying there was nothing to celebrate without Alf or Brad. Leah went after her and Sally admitted that with Alf, the one constant in her life, having let her down she didn't feel safe anymore. She then went down to the wharf and invited Alf to the party, even turning it into a joint welcome home party for him and Pippa.

When Sally and Brad shared a kiss, Sally hoped it meant they were getting back together and arranged some counselling for them, even though it was clear Brad wasn't that keen. Eventually Sally realised that whatever their feelings for each other they clearly wanted different things; she wanted to get back with Brad because she was comfortable with him, whereas he wanted something more.

In early 2008 Sally found herself unexplainedly drawn to a scruffy homeless man named Miles. She offered him food, clean clothes and a place to stay. Miles eventually revealed to her that he was in fact her brother. Sally found his claim very hard to believe at first as she could not remember having a brother. She had always believed that she was an only child and that her biological parents had died in a boating accident when she was three, and that "Milco" was the imaginary friend she had invented to help her cope with her loneliness, not the nickname of a brother she had forgotten. Eventually though, she was able to remember two events from her early childhood – a woman teaching her to say her brother's name while a man encouraged her, and Sally and Miles celebrating their third birthday. She realised they were twins, and brother and sister were finally reunited after 26 years.

Near death experience[]

Soon, Johnny Cooper escaped from prison, plotting revenge. After tricking Miles into letting him into the house,he forced Sally to come downstairs by taking Colleen Smart hostage and threatening to kill her if Miles and Roman Harris, who was staying there, made a false move. When Johnny was momentarily distracted, Miles ran at him and in the ensueing melee Sally was stabbed. Jack Holden arrived and begin shooting at Johnny but he escaped. Sally was rushed to hospital and flatlined while she was being operated on, suggesting she was dead, where that week's run of episodes ended.

The subsequent Monday episode of Home and Away almost entirely featured Sally having a "near-death experience" vision. During it, her foster father Tom showed her what life will be like in Summer Bay without her and as it showed, it is a dull, sombre and depressing place with both Colleen and Miles blaming themselves for Sally's death with the former leaving Summer Bay to go into a retirement home and the latter seemingly ending up back on the street. Then, Tom showed her what would be her grave and told her if she stayed she would be reunited with her loved ones: Bobby, Ailsa, Michael and of course Flynn. Since her death wasn't planned, she had the choice to either live or die. Sally decided to go back because her life wasn't finished and that people needed her as Tom pointed out. Then Tom told her that the books needed to be balanced and someone else would be taken in place. Sally tried to change her mind but was told the decision had already been made. Tom sent Pippa his love and before Sally was seen beginning to recover on the operating table.

Sally confided in Alf, who had undergone a similar experience, about what she had seen and he advised her to be careful about who she told. Tom had shown Leah deeply upset about something and Sally's fears that the person who was to die was someone close to her proved true when her husband Dan was killed in an abseiling accident. Finding Leah blaming herself and aware Tom had told her she would help, Sally told her what had happened. To her surprise, Leah didn't believe her but thanked her for being a good friend by making the story up.

In Sally's absence, her deputy Martin Bartlett had been appointed acting principal. She was horrified when he was given the job on a permanent basis and she was "promoted" to a desk job in the city. Not wanting to become an administrator and feeling her future lay elsewhere, Sally resigned.


After twenty years, Kate Ritchie departed Home and Away. Her last episode as Sally Fletcher was shown on 3 April 2008. As Farah Farouque wrote, "the last episode featuring Sally is a TV moment of note."[2]

Some weeks previous, Sally had realised that she no longer had any responsibilities in Summer Bay and with her foster daughter Cassie Turner finding it difficult being pregnant and HIV positive in a small town she decided that the two of them and her daughter Pippa should leave the area and go travelling.

Her send off on the show was one of the most emotional departures, as she was one of the two original characters left and had 'grown up' on Home and Away. A concert was performed for Sally by the school, organised by Sally's twin brother Miles Copeland, who is now a teacher at Summer Bay High. The speech Sally performed was emotional and moving, and is said to be what Kate Ritchie would say, acting as almost a double character. Many tears were shed, all real.[citation needed]

When she returned home after the concert, the caravan park house had been robbed, which we later found out by Noel Anderson, who was attempting to blackmail Ric, leaving no furniture for Miles; however, the gang enjoyed a picnic on the floor of the house. The next morning Sally spent the morning reflecting on the beach. When she came back she had a heart-to-heart with Miles, handing over half ownership to the Caravan park. Sally's last major scene was with Alf, sharing a final farewell together on the beach, after they had been avoiding each other in the run up to the moment. Her last line, in response to Alf's request she use his first name, was 'You will always be Mr Stewart to me, Alf', a moving line to send Sally on her travels. She left Summer Bay, after walking up from the beach where Alf remained. Sally was saddened to say goodbye to Alf, but her last scene was when she walking to the road to be with her foster mother, Pippa, who was driving her to the airport to start a new life in Phuket with little Pippa and Cassie.

Some weeks later, it was revealed that Sally had temporarily halted her travels in order to take a teaching job at an orphanage in Phuket.

Sally often contacts Miles about her time in Phuket and they both share their news of what is happening. On 24 July 2008, it had been revealed that Cassie had given birth to a baby girl called Summer Rose and the good news is that Summer Rose is HIV negative.

In April 2009, Pippa Ross made a brief return to the Bay and told Miles Copeland that Sally missed the Bay like crazy, a year after leaving it.


Executive producer John Holmes said, "Sally is the most loved character on the show and the viewers feel passionately about her survival...No character over the last 19 years compares in popularity to Sally though, except maybe Ray Meagher (who plays Alf). Viewers have seen Sally grow up from an eight-year-old little girl and don't want to see her go."[3]


  1. Kate Ritchie, "Kate Ritchie bids farewell to Home and Away and Sally," Herald Sun (April 02, 2008).
  2. Farah Farouque, "Tribute to dull and dependable Sally," The Age (April 3, 2008).
  3. As quoted in "Does Sally Fletcher die?," The Age (January 12, 2007).

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