Joan Spencer RIP


We are sad to announce the death of a much loved Rye resident, Joan Spencer, on January 10. Born Beatrice Joan Bush in Settle, North Yorkshire to parents Winifred and Albert Bush on July 22 1939, Joan was one of five children.

As a child Joan embraced the wild beauty of the Yorkshire Dales playing in the meadows, swimming and paddling in the River Ribble and building dens in the woods. Later she became more adventurous and enjoyed hill walking, climbing and potholing.

Joan attended Settle Girls High School where she excelled in creative writing and regularly won the poetry prize. She then went to Portsmouth University where she completed her teacher training and also met Terry, her future husband, and they married in 1960. Joan and Terry moved to Rye in the 1960s where they both went on to teach at Thomas Peacocke School.

After a short residence in Landgate Square, Joan and Terry moved to Military Road, where, after the death of Terry in March 2000, Joan continued to live until recent years.

Supporting the blind

Joan had a busy life, juggling work (which included supervising ski and camping trips for pupils in the school holidays), raising money for and running a local group for the ESAB (East Sussex Association for the Blind) and taking on the important role of Mayoress when Terry became the Mayor in 1974 and 1975 —not an easy job while raising five children!

Terry shared Joan’s love of the countryside and, as their five children grew, the family would drive back up to the north in their camper van to enjoy summer camping holidays by the river near Settle and in the Lake District.

Joan was very well read, she loved music and poetry and played the piano. She shared these interests with her pupils at Thomas Peacocke School where she specialised in teaching English and later worked in the special needs department. She was much loved by her pupils, often being stopped in Rye years later by a former pupil or colleague wanting to share a happy memory of being in her class group.

A positive contribution to so many lives

Joan relished living in Rye and in her later years she continued to contribute to the local community. She was a member of the U3A and of a local music group, she maintained her links with ESAB and, until recently worked in a local charity shop.

Joan was a dearly loved mother, grandmother, sister, auntie and friend. She has made such a positive contribution to so many lives. Rye will not forget her

Any charitable donations should be made to the ESAB and a memorial service will be held in the summer if it is safe to do so.

Image Credits: Emma Spencer .

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  1. Very sorry for your loss Emma,Simon,Tim, and Rupert and I’m sorry I forget your older sister’s name. Your mom was always friendly to me. She had a way of laughing about our teenage antics and indiscretions without passing judgement.

  2. If I remember correctly Terry took over from Mr Evans as the pe teacher when it was still Rye Secondary School, a great bloke who was popular with all that knew him.
    I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Joan but I can see she was just as popular.
    My condolences to you and your family at your sad loss.

  3. As another mum of teenagers, I remember her for her down to earth approach at that time when Dieter does. I also remember Dieter. Condolences to all the family. RIP Joan.

  4. Emma thank you for the lovely memory of Joan. I came to know her through U3A and we shared a few pots of coffee or a glass here and there. I remember the impressive train set which your father built. Then we lost touch until she moved to strand quay for a bit always with a smile on her face.


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