years have passed and so have a number of staff and pupils alike. I studied
music at school with Miss Allen and since leaving TP have, over the years
always kept in touch, by letter, phone and visiting. Although known at school
as Miss Allen, she was in fact married but because she married whilst at
TP, as so often happens, as long as there is someone about who knows the
person from before, then the old name sticks.
Looking back, I find I had known her for 47 years and her husband, Dick for more than 30. They moved from Arundel to Chideock in Dorset shortly after the school closed and I found them a very convenient "stop-off" to get my children ready for bed when travelling to friends in Cornwall.
In October 2001, I went down to lunch with them. They were both still very active and looking forward to her 90th birthday party. The hall was booked and celebrations were all being organised. She was still playing her "fiddle" in Quartets and Chamber Orchestras and conducting the local choirs. I never dared show my ignorance by asking which intrument she was playing so I refer to it as her "fiddle" because she taught violin at school and I know she played the viola as well. Her "fiddles" were made by her very talented husband. Dick also made a lot of the smaller furniture in the home - a beautiful grandmother clock, standard lamps, small chests of drawers and other items of intricacies. Even all the drawers to keep his tools in, in his immaculate workshop, were all made by him.
A month after my visit, Joyce had a heart attack and was waiting to be transferred to Southampton General Hospital (you know what waiting for a bed in the NHS means). At last a bed became available. Dick went home to pack some things for himself (they had found a place for him to stay in Southampton) but while he was at home the hospital phoned to say she had had another attack and died. They were a devoted couple, lived for each other, had no children only a dog, a West Highland Terrier, the last one being Zoe. They always kept to the same breed.
At the funeral I was intrigued by her "Memorial" and asked for a copy to put on the Web Page, because I doubt if anyone really knew anything about her talents - I certainly didn't and after all, teachers are all "old" to us when we are school children! Dick promised to send me a copy but a week after her funeral, he had a stroke and now, 8 weeks after Joyce's death, he has also gone.
Val Lishman informed me just before Christmas that he had had a stroke and I went to visit him in Bridport Hospital, where he had just been transferred. He was paralysed down his right side and unable to speak, but he knew who I was and everything that was being said. He actually died before I left the hospital grounds, but I didn't know that until I got home.