Joan Alice Little, a mainstay of the community at Hackthorpe for many years, has died.
Joan was born at Canterbury, Kent, in 1931, and lived with her family in Hampshire until the death of her father in 1940, when she moved with her mother to Lowther village to live with her grandparents, Sam and Elizabeth Robinson.
Sam was head gamekeeper to the “Yellow Earl” and Joan enjoyed her time living there.
In her later years she visited Lowther Castle and Jack’s Croft Pond, when she recalled walking around there with her grandfather and Mr Jeffries, the head gardener.
In 1943 after Sam’s death, Joan moved with her mother and grandmother to Brocklebank, Hackthorpe, where Joan lived for the next 76 years.
Joan went to Lowther Endowed School and met her future husband, Jack Little, when she was only eight years old.
On leaving school, Joan went to Brigg’s Secretarial College, studying shorthand, typing and accountancy, and then landed a secretarial, accountancy job in Ashford, Kent.
Joan and Jack were still an item, Joan living in Ashford and Jack living in Rugby, where he was a gardener for General Electric. Jack was called up for national service, joining the King’s Regiment, Liverpool.
Both Joan and Jack came back up to Brocklebank to celebrate Joan’s 21st birthday in 1952 with family and friends.
A couple of days later, Jack was sent off to Korea, where he was on the front line until the war ended in 1953. After Korea, Jack came back to his first job working at Lowther as a forester.
In 1955 Joan and Jack were married at Lowther Church. They went on to have two daughters, Dorothy and Barbara.
Joan put her secretarial and accountancy skills to good use in the community.
In 1959 she joined the Lowther & District Social Club, which then became the parish hall committee, taking over as secretary in 1973.
Joan was in charge of taking bookings for Lowther Parish Hall and was also caretaker, helping with the running of the badminton club, parish sports day, dance and Christmas party and dance.
In 1966 Joan joined the Lowther WI, becoming secretary in 1971, resigning after 40 years in 2011.
In 1966 she was appointed to Lowther Parochial Church Council, becoming treasurer in 1971, retiring after 42 years in 2013.
In 1969 Joan became treasurer and secretary to the Woodhead Charity, where every year the elderly of Lowther Parish receive a cheque.
She was also secretary and treasurer of the Wednesday Club, which was a social afternoon for the elderly of the parish.
Both Joan and Jack were keen travellers, visiting countries across the globe.
Their last big holiday in 2000 was to Korea, which was the highlight of their extensive travels.
Christmas 1999, Jack said to son-in-law Dave that he wanted to go back to Korea. Christmas was always a very poignant time for Jack.
When in Korea on Christmas Day, he was due to go out on patrol.
Fortunately his brother, George who was in the Engineers had just arrived.
His officer said to Jack “Go and find your brother!”, so he did.
His platoon went out on patrol and never came back.
We got in touch with the Korean Veterans to discover that there was a special trip to Korea to mark the 50th anniversary for servicemen, in the company of Prince Andrew, who was representing the Queen, in four months’ time.
I remember getting a phone call telling me to watch the BBC news.
There was Jack in front of his officers grave, totally lost with all his thoughts.
Jack had wanted for so long to take Joan to Korea and to lay his ghosts to rest.
He and his former colleagues were also presented with medals and were honoured by the Korean people and “treated like royalty” during their stay.
They also met actor Sir Roger Moore as part of his work with Unicef.
In 2013 Jack died, and in 2019 Joan moved to Croftfield Care Home, Cotehill, where she spent the last 16 months being well looked after.
She is survived by her two daughters and sons-in-law — Dorothy and Dave Ball, and Barbara and Ian Poole and their families – husband Dave Ball, granddaughter Michelle and husband Kevin Halstead, great-grandsons, Ethan and Harry, grandson Stephen Ball and wife Emma, daughter Barbara and husband Ian Poole, grandson Darren Poole and partner Neasha, great-granddaughter Aurora and granddaughter Adele Poole.