Dear Member,
This is the hardest thing I have ever had to write as it is my sad duty to inform you of the sudden death of our beloved Chairperson Joyce Thompson on Christmas Eve.
Joyce was not a Mexborough lady as many people believed but was born Joyce Bramwell on the 13th. July 1925 in Gateshead. Her father acquired the position of Manager at the "Home and Colonial" Grocery Store, High Street, Mexborough when she was eleven years old and it was soon after this that she came to Mexborough and commenced her Secondary Education at Mexborough Grammar School, College Road.
In 1943 she went on to Ripon Training College which she left in 1945, and following this took her first teaching post; this was in Attercliffe where she stayed for a year.
Next came her first teaching position in Mexborough, and Margot Beardsley (nee Lindsey) who is now Assistant in Charge of Mexborough Branch Library, remembers how she was among her first pupils at Doncaster Road Junior School in 1947. She recalls how nice she was, always pleasant and never short or bad - tempered. Margot told me that Joyce never forgot her pupils and when Margot came back Jo Mexborough to work in the library Joyce recognised her straight away and came over to enquire how she was.
It was while she was teaching at Doncaster Road Junior School that she met Wilfred Thompson, who was a fellow teacher who had come from Bolton - on - Dearne to take a post at the school. They were married soon after this at St. John the Baptist Parish Church Mexborough, with their reception in the New Masons' Arms, Doncaser Road, Mexborough. For a while they lived in Bolton - on - Dearne and had two sons Andrew and David, and two step - children Robert and Barbara.
It was during the late 1940's that Joyce joined "The Green Room Club" and became known as an accomplished actress, also helping backstage and organising social events. She was a Hon. Life Member and took over the role of President following the death of Doctor Bhatia. She held many volunteer posts, some working with children; two of these were Guide Captain for St. John's, and Youth Leader at St. George's, Main Street. She was a member of Mexborough Parish Church Council and did much fund - raising for it and other charities.
Her last teaching post was at St. John the Baptist C. of E. School, Sedgefield Way, Mexborough, where she commenced teaching following the Easter Break in 1970 and retired her teaching career in 1985.
Wilf and Joyce joined our society c1989 and the following year joined the committee with my father and me. My father died suddenly in March 1991 and, within a few weeks, so did Wilt. It was then that Joyce and I really began to get to know each other. The following Christmas we organised the first Christmas Social and when she began to organise our day excursions I helped with any work I could. She stayed on the committee and became our Vice - Chairman, but gave up her Vice - Chairmanship for one year in order to concentrate all her efforts on fund - raising for the church. She returned to the post the following year and became Chairman two years ago.
She will be greatly missed by everyone, and was one of those special people we so rarely find in this world who can never be replaced. She was a lovely lady, and the world will be a poorer place for her leaving.

1997 saw the tragic deaths of three women who were much loved by us all and who can never be replaced. The first two on the surface couldn't be more different, one was a young, tall, slim, elegant, princess with two sons and everything to live for. The other was a small, old, nun, but both held each other in great esteem and both visited each other on a few occasions. In latter years as the nun became infirm and could not travel, the beautiful princess came to see her and when she died was buried with one of the nun's rosaries at her breast. They both looked so different but both in their separate ways gave so much to others. The princess of course was Diana Princess of Wales and
Mother Teresa of Calcutta was the nun. The third was our own dear Joyce. It is just impossible for me to put pen to paper and describe to you the love which everyone felt for her and the huge void in our lives left by her passing, she will be greatly missed by us all.
Talk. 28th. Jan. Our talk this month was "Swinton Past and Present" by Mr. Jack Ardron. Newsletter: A chapter on "Why do Yorkshire People call Licorice Spanish?" was followed like this one with a review of the past year.
Items of Interest
9th. Jan. Tony Bullimore who was a Round the World Yachtsman was found after a 5 days extensive search of the Indian Ocean. He was discovered 1,500 miles off the coast of Australia in the hull of his capsized yacht.
20th. Jan. Martin Redmond our long standing M.P. died of cancer. The funeral service was held at Denaby Main.
20th. Jan. The "Cavern" in Liverpool made famous by The Beatles opened 40yrs ago today.
30th. Jan. Tooshah Gandhi threw the remaining ashes of his Great - Grandfather Mahatma Gandhi into the Ganges River.
Talk. "National Trust Properties within 60 miles of Doncaster" by Lionel Hemming.
Newsletter. This told us that "Cinderella" or Locomotive Mexborough Pacific No. 63601 which had once worked at Mexborough Loco Plant, had been saved for posterity and restored by Craig Sinchcombe. Michael Fowler's book "Swinton a Walk in the Past" was released. The main subject of the newsletter was "Local Yorkshire Words and Phrases"
Items of Interest.
2nd Feb. Mr. Bainbridge who wrote "The Archers" (the oldest soap opera in the world) died. 13th. Feb. The last beauty contest took place on a Butlin's Holiday Camp at Skegness where the first one took place 60yrs ago.
19th. Feb. Ding Chow Ping who was successor to Chairman Mao died in China aged 92yrs.
25th. March. Talk by Carol Hill on "Family Photographs".
Newsletter. This covered the collection taken by us to help restore "Cinderella" the steam Loco. That work was to commence on the 24th. March as to demolition of the last "Trackless" Stop, this was to be found on Adwick Road, Mexborough. At the end of the previous month Barrie Chambers had launched another local history book entitled "A Champion's Diary" covering the life of "Iron Hague", Heavyweight Boxing Champion of England, who was born and brought up in Mexborough. The last item covered the removal on the 17th. Feb. of the Sapper Hackett Memorial from the exterior wall of Walker's Bingo Hall. The main subject of the newsletter was "The Restoration of St. John the Baptist's Parish Church, Mexborough".
Items of Interest
3rd. March Willie Carson, a Championship Flat Race Jockey announced his retirement following an accident last year where a horse kicked him causing serious liver damage. He is to take up the breeding and training of race horses. He has ridden 4,000 winners in his 35yr.
racing career.
6th. March. It was announced that Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet is to close due to cut backs.
7th. March. Waddington Games is to close. The firm was taken over by an American firm four years ago.
13th. March. The first prison ship for over one hundred years arrived at Portland Harbour. She is to be
named H.M.S. Resolution and can house 500 prisoners. She came originally from America.
21st. March. The creator of "Thomas the Tank Engine",The Rev. W. Awdry died aged 85yrs. His son is to take over in his place.
22nd. March. The Hale Bopp comet was seen in the sky for the first time.
27th. March. Aldernety died. He was the famous horse who was nearly put down because the main
tendon in his leg broke. He then went on to win the Grand National with cancer victim
Bob Champion. A film was made about their endeavours named "The Champions". March too was the month in which the I.R.A. disrupted communications all over the country. Then, early one Tuesday morning, signal boxes were blown up close to Doncaster. The town was put on a bomb alert as the I.R.A. threatened more bombs in the town centre and the whole of Doncaster had to be closed. The following week a similar thing happened but by this time we were organised as trains going from Sheffield to Doncaster were stopped at Mexborough Station and people were bussed to their destinations from there.
Talk. A.G.M. followed by a talk concerning Monkton Farleigh which is Europe's largest underground ammunition store. This was given by Frank Morley.
Newsletter. Mr. Wilkinson, Supervisor of the restoration of St. John the Baptist's Parish Church, Mexborough.
Items of Interest
1st. April. The County of Rutland was reinstated.
5th. April. This should have been the day on which the Grand National Steeplechase was run, but following the unveiling of a bust in honour of the retiring sports commentator Peter O'Sullivan by The Princess Royal, the I.R.A. announced that bombs had been planted in the Grandstand, on the course, in the stables, and in the car parks. It was a Mexborough Security Firm who successfully evacuated the thousands of racegoers without injury to a single person. The valuable racehorses had to be abandoned in their stables until later that night when the area was deemed safe and they too could be evacuated.
7th. April. The Grand National was at last run. I began a computer Course at The Dearne Enterprise Centre.
18th. April. The first Cuckoo was heard in High Melton Woods and also close to the River Deame. 30th. April. The clock inside Westminster Tower (called by some people Big Ben) stopped at
12:10p.m. it was working again by 12:30p.m. This is said to be caused by the hot
weather but some have said that it is a sign of bad luck or great change. The first swift of summer was also seen.
It was during April that District Auditor Gordon Sutton first revealed expenses abuses by some Doncaster Councillors.
Evening Visit. The Doncaster Archives at Balby.
Newsletter. None this month.
Items of Interest
1st. May. The General Election. The final count showed that New Labour had won by a landslide and
there is now not a Conservative seat left in either Scotland or Wales.
19th. May. The Palace of Westminster is to be repaired using large pieces of stone from the quarry at Warmsworth and some is to be transported to London by the same means as originally used when it was built. This is by river and canal, and a barge commenced its journey on this date.
24th. May. This day saw the marriage of our secretary Marion Broadhurst to Leo Allen at Fishlake Parish Church. There was a reception at The Royal Electric Theatre, Mexborough.
A good time was had by all.
Plans to turn R.A.F. Finningley into a prison were cancelled.
24th. June. Evening visit to Roche Abbey Newsletter. None this month.
Items of interest
6th. June. The Waddington's Factory in Lofthouse which makes the world famous Monopoly Game has been closed by its new American owner.
7th. June. Excursion to Duncombe Park and Helmsley. Following this we went on to visit The Earl of Mexborough at Arden Hall. The practice bombs used by the Dambusters were recovered from the beach at Reckover in Kent and are to be put on display; a site as yet has not been chosen.
10th. June. Dr. Stephen Martin and David Mitchell became the first people to walk to the North Pole unaided and arrived safely back in Britain.
13th. June. Diving crews found the first submarine situated on the sea bed off the coast of Wales. 19th. June. Chris Patten, Governor of Hong Kong said good - bye to the government there.
25th. June. Jacques Cousteau died aged 97yrs. He was not just an underwater explorer and
environmentalist but also the inventor of the aqua lung.
Evening Visit. A guided tour of Pontefract and its castle.
Newsletter. None this month.
Items of Interest.
1st. July. Hong Kong reverted back to Chinese rule. Robert Mitchum died aged 78yrs. James
Stewart died aged 89yrs. I began a Word Processing Course at the Dearne Enterprise Centre.
9th. July. Michael Jackson gave a live concert at The Don Valley Stadium, Sheffield. While he was in Sheffield he gave away five Sunshine Coaches to local children's charities.
16th. July. The N.H.S. came into existence 50 years ago today
16th. July. A British crew piloting a yacht named Group 4 won the Round the World Yacht Race. 19th. July. Excursion to Beamish Open Air Museum. Everyone had a great day.
24th. July. Brian Glover, who had been a wrestler in his younger days, had become an accomplished actor, and was the voice behind the Tetley Teamen. He died aged 63yrs from a brain tumour.
Evening Visit. None.
Newsletter. None
Items of Interest.
14th. August 1997. India and Pakistan celebrated 50yrs. of independence from British rule.
15th. August. 30yrs ago Radio Caroline and other pirate radio stations were closed by the government.
15th. August. It is twenty years since the death of Elvis.
28th. August. The last Miss Pears beauty competition took place.
31st. August 1997. Diana Princess of Wales was killed in a car accident in Paris with her friend Dodi Al Fayed. The accident took place at roughly 12 mid. night and she died at 4a.m.
This month also saw thunderstorms which brought flooding to different parts of the region
Talk. Eric Holder on Wood Hall Moated Manor.
Newsletter. Following the tragic sudden death of Diana Princess of Wales the newsletter this month was about her.
1st Sept. This was my birthday but it didn't feel much like one as the country went into mourning and
people began to bring flowers to the gates of Kensington Palace.
5th. Sept. Mother Teresa of Calcutta died, the nun who dedicated her life to helping the poor of India.
6th. Sept. The world stopped for the funeral of Diana Princess of
Wales. There wasn't a shop, bank, or business open in Mexborough, the High Street was deserted, and neither cars or people could be seen on the outlying streets not - even any playing children. There was a deathly hush everywhere, as though every human being on the planet had suddenly disappeared. The
grief transcended all religion to make one, that of love.
8th. Sept. The new smaller 50p coin came out.
9th. Sept. I sat a three hour exam on Word Processing.
11th. Sept. The ocean of flowers outside Kensington Palace was removed and the ones which were still alive were sent to hospitals, O.A.P. Centres, etc. and the others were turned into compost for the gardens.
11th. Sept. Scotland took the first step to become a country in its own right again by voting yes to having its own regional assembly.
18th. Sept. Wales voted the same as Scotland.
23rd. Sept. "Thrust" the car which is to try and break the world speed record on land, reached a speed of 689m.p.h.
26th. Sept. "Thrust" reached 714m.p.h. but the driver Andrew Green says there is still plenty of speed left in her.
30th. Sept. After 36yrs. the ship which was affectionately know as the big white whale and acted as a troop ship and hospital during the Falklands War was retired with a huge party as she docked for the last time at Southampton. She was better known to us as"The Canberra".
Talk. This month I gave a short talk on some of the items to be found in our Archives and how they can be of use in tracing our history. This talk was deliberately kept short in order to give more time for our member to study the items which I had brought with me.
Newsletter. Owning to the extension of our Tenth Anniversary Exhibition I was unable this month to complete a newsletter.
8th. Oct. I hired a video from The Globe Video Shop. I know that this seems to be a strange thing to
put down on our newsletter but the video was "Evita" which had been released earlier
this year and under the credits as Musical Consultant I found the name of David
Caddick who came originally from Mexborough and played the organ at my wedding. 10th ,11th,& 12th. Oct. Our weekend break to Norfolk.
13th. Oct. John Denver was killed in an aeroplane crash.
13th. Oct. Andrew Green in Thrust became the first man ever to travel on land at the speed of sound as on this date Thrust broke the sound barrier at 785 m.p.h. The British team was led by Richard Noble who had held the Land Speed Record until this year.
16th, 17th, 18th,20th,21st,22nd,23rd,24th,25th, Oct. Exhibition to celebrate our 10th. Anniversary was held in the reference library of Mexborough Branch Library.
Talk. Ceramics in South Yorkshire by John Griffin
Newsletter. The Tenth Anniversary. This covered the history of our society.
Items of Interest.
8th. Nov. An exhibition was given by your society at The Doncaster School for the Deaf which had
been hired for the day by The Doncaster Family History Society.
9th. Nov. The B.B.C. launched its first digital T. V. Channel with News 24 which at the moment can only be seen on Cable T.V.
12th. Nov. Gold has been found in Devon in sufficient quantities to make mining a viable proposition. 13th. Nov. The Royal Yacht Britannia sailed up the Thames for the last time as she was retired from service later on in the year.
17th. Nov. The restoration of Windsor Castle following the devastating fire of 1992 was completed and the castle is to be opened to the general public soon.
20th. Nov. The Golden Wedding Anniversary of The Queen and Prince Philip. There was a service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey followed by a lunch; also a special 5 coin was minted to commemorate this occasion.
23rd. Nov. 1997. Mexborough and District Heritage society was 10 years old. 24th. Nov. Humphrey the cat at No. 10 was retired to the country and No. 10 acquired a new cat. 26th. Nov. The film "The Full Monty" which tells the story of redundant Sheffield steel workers becoming male strippers is selling well in America. I went to see it for the first time at Warner Bros. Cinema in Meadowhall Shopping Centre where it has been shown every day since its release. 28th. Nov. Bill Maynard who plays the part of Claude Greengrass in the T.V. adaptation of the
"Constable" books, "Heartbeat", returned to work following a slight stroke.
29th. Nov.There was not a talk this month as the excursion which had to be cancelled because of the
tragic death of Diana Princess of Wales was taken on Saturday 29th. Nov. It turned out
to be the last excursion organised by Joyce our Chairman as she died a few weeks later.
It was in November 1915 that the Passport was introduced for the first time.
Talk. There was none this month because of the Christmas holiday.
Newsletter. There was none this month.
1st. Dec. The jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli died.
2nd. Dec. The wrestler "Big Daddy" died from a stroke. He did much work for children's charities.
8th. Dec. Sooty the little glove puppet appeared at the Alhambra, Bradford, for the last time as this year
Matthew Corbett retires after 20yrs. as puppeteer and has sold Sooty to a consortium. 11th. Dec. The Royal Yacht Britannia was decommissioned at Portsmouth. The Queen who was at the
ceremony was almost in tears, but Britannia is not to be scrapped and later this year
she may go to Edinburgh to become a floating conference room and museum.
12th. Dec. The famous footballer Billy Bremner was buried at Edlington following his sudden death at
Mexborough Montagu Hospital a few days ago.
13th. Dec. John Lennon one of the famous Beatles was killed 17yrs. ago.
19th. Dec. William Hague who was born in Wath - Upon - Dearne and is now leader of the Conservative Opposition was married to his Welsh girlfriend Fionn Jenkinson in Westminster.
24th. Dec. Joyce Thompson our Chairperson suddenly died.
30th. Dec. It was announced that the area in front of Kensington Palace which became a sea of flowers following the death of Princess Diana is to be made into a flower garden in her memory.
It was also in December that I received the results of the examinations I took earlier in the year, one being for Computers for Beginners and the other Word Processing, and I am pleased to announce that you now have someone writing out your newsletters with a Grade 1 pass in Computers for Beginners and the equivalent of an N.V.Q. Grade 2 in Word Processing, and in the future I am hoping to put my new learning into practice by improving the look of your newsletter.
Thank you so much to June Tomlinson for all her help in writing the article about Joyce. Without her help I could not have done it.
I will now leave you, and wish you and yours a very happy, healthy and a prosperous new year.
Your Archivist
J.R. Ashby