JOAN GASCOIGNE (née Towning)
Dec 1925, Northampton - Sept 2008, Sulgrave
Joan was born on the 15th of December 1925 in Northampton, the sixth of seven children after Edward, Ernest, James, Leonard, Mary and Basil, to Frederick and Maude Anne Towning. The family lived at Lincoln Road, Sixfields, in a house backing onto open countryside at the edge of town, where the children spent many hours.
Joan, held by her mother - the second youngest of seven children.
Joan playing hockey, Spencer School, 1938 (13 years)
Joan wearing silk pyjamas brought from the East
by one of her brothers in the War.
During the Second World War, Joan was keen to contribute to the war effort, enrolling in the Women’s Land Army. In the last year of her life Joan received her badge for service from March 1942 to May 1949.
Joan managed many Land Girls, from all parts of England including the northern cotton mill districts of Lancashire, and East-End London.
Joan and a Land Army friend
Joan with Land Army women from Denton hostel, Northamptonshire
More Land Army friends.....
......and Joan in the van in which she used
to drive the girls to work
Joan with her younger brother Basil in the
of their house in Northampton
Digging for victory (which included
working on the Althorp Park estate
of the Spencer family) and learning animal husbandry
Yet more Land Army friends
Joan in 1949, aged 24, as a bridesmaid
to her sister Mary’s wedding and
Dennis, Joan’s future husband looking smart on his motorbike
Joan and Dennis’s wedding in 1949 at
St James’ Church,
Northampton and Joan on her way back from honeymooning
in north-west England
1950. Joan with her first child Christopher, standing outside
the old forge in Church Street, where her father-in-law
George shoed horses.
Mid 1950s. Joan and Dennis with the first three of their six children, Christopher, Jennifer and Sally. On the right is Joan’s sister Mary and on the left is her sister-in-law Ray. Behind Joan is her mother Maude, who subsequently came to stay in Sulgrave for the last 14 years of her life. (This photo was taken outside the bungalow at the top of Helmdon Road where the family lived for a few years before moving to Bentley’s Farm.)
1960. Family photo taken in the yard of Bentley’s Farm. Joan is holding Julian,
her fourth child, Sally and Jennifer are on the left and Joan’s sister-in-law Mary
holding her son Paul.
1980. Joan with her grand-daughter Laura,
one of Sally’s three children.
1999. Joan and Dennis celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Also in the photo are left to right: Jack, Mary’s husband, Sally, Mary, Jo, sitting on Joan’s right, and her
2007: Joan celebrating her sister Mary and Jack’s diamond wedding anniversary
with family at the Boat Inn, Stoke Bruerne
Joan always enjoyed the company of children and the retirement bungalow
was always an open house to them.
2005: Joan in the bungalow garden with her son Julian, sister Mary
and nephew David and his family.
2007. Joan with her daughter Jennifer on a day out
in the Cotswolds.
A Jeffs coach. Joan and her friends took many happy coach trips
around the country in her later years.
2006. Joan with Betty, Molly, Ursula and Peter on a pre-breakfast
walk during a holiday at Bridlington.
Joan in entertaining mode at a Culworth Gang Christmas party
2007. Joan in Cornwall on a holiday trip with the ‘Culworth Gang’.
Joan with Janet Tattersall at a Sulgrave Manor party in October 2007,
celebrating Alec and Janet Cave's diamond wedding and Emma Cave's
Joan (sitting, in sunglasses) being serenaded by Morris Men outside
the village shop in August 2007.
A final word from Molly Wootton, sitting next to Joan in the last picture above: "Joan was a great friend to many people in the village, of all ages and interests. She was always "on the go" even when her final illness made things difficult for her. Above all she had a wonderful sense of humour, always ready for a bit of fun, whatever the circumstances. She is very sadly missed and she leaves a big hole in the lives of many people in the village, especially of my generation."