Joyce Sophia Flanagan

Joyce’s funeral was held on Tuesday at St Mary’s, the church she had been part of for over 60 years. A rich cross section from her centurion life was present, and then at the Borough Cemetery, Powder Mill Lane.

Not many of us were alive in 1935, the year Joyce began working as a teacher, near Reading. She was 20, with long brown hair plaited into two parts, crossed over her head. In 1953, her Head described her as ‘first and foremost a worker who always puts her profession before anything else and gives unstintingly of her best for the good of the school.’

That year she moved to Isleworth to be near her parents when her father became ill. He’d been the publican at the Radnor Arms in Kensington. Joyce’s cousin Geoffrey (health prevented him from being present) recalled how, promptly at 10.55pm, the pub dog would start barking, ‘calling time’, continuing until he’d emptied the pub! In Joyce’s papers is a photo of her parents with the dog – on the pub bar.

Some of Joyce’s former pupils from Marlborough Girls School were able to be present. The Head’s reference in 1968 (when the school closed) speaks of her ‘thoroughness and conscientiousness, giving freely of her own time for the welfare of the school’, as well as her ‘loyalty and exceptional hard work’.

Victor de Waal, now 88, was curate at St Mary’s when Joyce joined (1953.) He spoke very warmly of her. An amazing connection with the past. Joyce was a very faithful member right till a year or so ago. She had taught a Sunday school class, played piano and organ, sang in the choir and arranged flowers.

The span between 1915 and 2016 saw the 1st World War, the Depression, the 2nd World War and of course the huge changes to the world since – barely recognisable in many ways. Joyce was a wonderfully ‘constant’ presence, a woman of great integrity, dedication and care. She expressed her following of Christ in many ways, quietly getting on doing His work, trusting in Him and to the last, looking forward to the Day of Resurrection.