JOAN NEWBURY, 23rd MARCH 1928 — 3rd APRIL 2015
Joan Newbury used to be a FSG member, along with her sons, Mark and Murry, but she discontinued it when she stopped ringing and when Murry and his wife moved to Derbyshire. She continued arranging ringers for Buckland until some Benefice changes occurred a year or two back, and at Broadway until the end.
I have a photo of Joan taken prior to a ringing practice at Buckland one evening. Yes, these could be quite leisurely occasions, but why not? Happy memories…
Joan is on the far right. Of those that still ring are David Hammond and Mark Newbury.
Joan learnt to ring at Broadway, before the present rope guides were installed. I guess the ropes used to come down all over the place then! In response to my comment in the last Newsletter that Joan's ringing style was ‘interesting', Murry said, ‘That's because she learnt to ring at Broadway!' (I am pleased to say this is not the case at Broadway now!)
Joan became something of a legend latterly. Those most affected were those she didn't know and who asked if they could bring a band to ring at Broadway or Buckland. She wasn't the type to gush over you. Her reply would be business-like and straight to the point — but always polite and never aggressive. I guess a number would have thought they were dealing with the Iron Lady! But if she knew you and liked you, then she would take a joke with the best. I've bought our weekly vegetables from Mark for a few years now and go and collect them. Mark would invariably be out ‘on the ground', so I'd see Joan every week. We'd chew over a few things, sometimes about ringing and sometimes not, but I never saw her fiercer side. She was as sharp as a tack. Somebody might, just might, put one over her - but it would only be once! But regardless of who or what you were, Joan was absolutely gun-barrel straight; and Mark and Murry have inherited all her qualities.
Joan was a wonderful, truly Vale character. Her like is disappearing. She'd talk as most do if she was in company she knew, but she'd hang fire with the verbals if she didn't. Her policy was to listen. When she did speak, though, it was always good to listen, as normally she'd be smack on the button about someone or something. She always reminded of a poem that used to hang on my childhood bedroom wall:
The wise old owl sat in an oak,
The more (s)he saw, the less (s)he spoke,
The less (s)he spoke, the more (s)he heard,
Why can't we be like that old bird?
Guild members who had known her well rang half-muffled before and after her burial Service at Childswickham on 13th April. She was laid to rest next to her husband, who died when Mark and Murry were still very young. Her popularity could be gauged by the fact that the Church was full for the Service. Donations in memory of Joan were divided between St Mary the V Church, Childswickham, and the Four Shires Guild's Belfry Restoration Fund, and an astounding £417.17 was given to our BRF. As Honorary Secretary I have thanked Mark and Murry for this donation, but it is right that our thanks should be more widely advertised through this article.
A quarter peal of Grandsire Doubles in her memory was rung later, and was rung open in celebration of her life.
Another Q will be rung at Broadway.
Thanks for some good memories, Joan. I'm very glad to have known you.