Joyce Laslett

Joyce Laslett only daughter of William and Maff (Margaret Cora Cole) Laslett. Sister to Eric and Roy


As you will see from the front page of the order of service,

Today is all about celebrating of the life of Joyce Williams

( formally - Laslett) I think that we all know that Joyce would

not have wanted people to be sad & miserable at her funeral.

She was never a one for too much fuss & over displays of


She was one of those remarkable individuals who had an

amazing positive outlook on life "Endure what you must,

but enjoy what you can" was her mantra. Indeed, she

displayed this right to the end of her life.

Despite everything she had to go through She was never one

to really complain. But, on the odd occasion that she was ever

challenged that this might have been the case, she would

forcefully state that she was "Merely stating facts".

I admired the fact that she always looked for the positive in any

situation. I have to say that the dignity, courage & inner

strength that she demonstrated over the last 12 months,

enduring an intensive course of chemotherapy was

inspirational. I have been through a tough time personally over

the last few months. But when I saw how my Mother was

remarkably coping with her own personal battle, it gave me the

inner strength & inspiration as a remarkable role model to pull

myself up from a low point & remember what was truly

important in life – so I have her to thanks for that, & the

example she has set will remain with me & be my inspiration

for the rest of my life.

But moving on to why we are here today & the celebration of

her life –

Joyce had a strong personality & a love of taking risks & having

fun– even as she got older, she refused to let go of her tom

boy behaviour & still insisted on climbing trees, & scaling

ladders in order to cut down the highest branches on hedges in

her garden, without ever asking for help. At times also

including foreign travel in respect of taking long haul travel

holidays across the world on her own. Joyce was never someone who was afraid to speak the truth &

give her opinion on matters & many of us have been on the

receiving end of her forthright views. But the one thing I would

say is that they were honestly held views & she always said the

truth, no matter how painful that was sometimes for recipients!

She was in fact one of the most honest people I have known. A

trait that I frequently been told that I share - Honest to the

point of eye wateringly rudeness!

But despite this, I loved the fact the she was genuinely very

accepting of people & situations just as they are. If things

didn't interfere with her, then she would generally let well be.

"I don't necessarily agree, but then I don't particularly


Joyce was also extremely practical – able to work out practical

solutions to problems

In fact she could be completely counted on to deal practically

with problems, without any fuss.

As a Taurian, born on the 2


May, one of her character traits

is quoted as "having a general reluctance to give up

single status – Needs to be wooed & pursued by

someone persistent" Those of us from the Laslett &

associated families all know how hard my Dad, Raymond, had

to work over an extended period of time at wooing Joyce, if I

am correct I think he had to make at least 3 proposals of

marriage before she eventually said "yes". But it was obviously

the right thing to do as after their marriage in the impressive

Southwark Cathedral on the 2


December 1961, last year they

celebrated 50 years of marriage, which is an amazing

achievement. I know that Joyce & Raymond shared many

hobbies & interests, particularly their love of classical music &

travel. They may have both been strong willed individuals but

I know that it was incredibly important formy Mother to

support my Dad in his career and was a remarkable "home

marker". Her cooking & baking were second to none. Even into

retirement, it would be fair to say that she dedicated her final

few years to ensuring that my Father, Raymond had the very best care imaginable. (Even though Raymond may at times

have felt that he was actually at Boot Camp!)

She was also someone who loved having her time out with

nature. Whether this meant visiting National Trust Gardens or

being in her own gardens at home in Charing – Gardens were

one of her greatest passions. She would lose herself in flower

& plant heaven – lost in her own contemplation, even when she

was going through the chemo in recent times, her gardening

was a great comfort to her. In earlier years she even won

awards for local gardening competitions. (Gardens in Bloom-

Charing). I am sure that many of us here today have either

received plants as gifts from Joyce, or been given guided tours

round her garden, visited National Trust gardens with her, or

quite frankly been bored to death with all the Latin names of

every conceivable plant imaginable. I thought I was safe going

on holiday to Greece with her – but she even knew the chuffing

names over there too!

As I have previously mentioned, Joyce was never one to make

an overt fuss about things – she did not necessarily show her

feelings through words, but through her generosity, both of

her time, her gifts & her practical help. I know that she

absolutely adored her four grandchildren, Rebecca, Charlotte,

Lucy & Benny. She thoroughly enjoyed contributing towards

dance lessons, school trips, clothes & fun days out. She spoke

enthusiastically as would any proud Grandma, about how they

were all growing up & progressing in life.

In addition, in her earlier years she devoted a great deal of

her time to voluntary work. She was truly the champion of

worthy causes. One of her greatest gifts was her kindness to

others & this was a gift that she used throughout her life to the

benefit of others who were less fortunate. I remember when

we were living in the West Midlands, her regularly going to

Winson Green Prison in Birmingham, working in the canteen at

the visitors centre. I am sure she saw some interesting sights

there! The when moving to Charing, she worked as a member

of the WRVS, with her friend Wendy at St Augustine's Hospital

(For the Mentally Impaired) also in the canteen – I vividly recall hearing some thoroughly entraining stories of some of the

confusion between the Doctors/Visitors & patients!

She also gave up her own time to help out with the "Pop in

Centre" at the Pym House Elderly Care Home across the road &

the Aldington Prison near Ashford.

As a youngest I remember her cooking extra Christmas dinners

to take round to the elderly people in Charing who did not

have any where to go on Christmas day & would not have any

visitors. That is the essence of who Joyce truly was about – a

genuinely caring, loving, selfless & charitable lady.

Joyce loved understanding how things worked – and as I have

previously mentioned her practicalities shone through with her

ability to self teach herself many skills. Fortunately this included

decorating – which is probably just as well as Dad, whilst

incredibly academic was not gifted in this department.

I also recall last year when she broke her ankle, finding that

she had adapted an office chair to scoot around on downstairs

so that she could still cook & make drinks for herself & my Dad!

She was adamant that she didn't need any external special help.

She spent several weeks thoroughly upsetting the social

services visitors by whizzing backwards & forwards from the

lounge to the kitchen, with drinks & meals, despite them trying

to tell her that the chair was quite simply not health & safety

compliant. As we are in a place of God's worship (I won't

repeat what she said about that observation!)

But then as I have said, Joyce always had a strong will. I once

remember hearing a quote from Margaret Thatcher , when she

said that "This Lady is not for turning". Well I think that that

would appropriately describe Joyce, once she had made her

mind up about something.

And so we move onto the subject of SUBBORNESS. Oh yes, any

of that know her well knew I how splendidly suborn she could

be .... I did have a smile on my face when I was considering

what music to include in her service today & toyed with the

idea of having "I did it my way" By Shirley Bassey – but then

thought better of it!! She may be resting in a peaceful place,

but knowing my Mother it would not stop her applying a heavenly slap to the back of my legs.

In respect of her stubbornness, sadly I never really learnt my

lessons in trying to push her into making decisions that in my

opinion were in her best interests. As we all know, Joyce

certainly did not like being told what to do. As many of us

found to our detriment, any attempt to push her into a decision

was doomed to failure. She frequently would remind me that

"You may be a Police Commander but you're not at

work now dear & I have a mind of my own you know!"

Well that certainly told me & I suspect that there are many of

us here today who had similar occasions of receiving robust &

firm feedback!! But then I guess that this is why we loved her

so much, because she knew her own mind & was not prepared

to acquiesce unless she had time to reflect and then make her

own decisions in her own time.

In addition to gardening & travel, Joyce loved a number of

other things in her life (Other than her husband, Raymond of

course!). These included Jigsaw puzzles, baking & in her

younger years sewing. I remember her incredible cooking

skills. Homemade bread, cakes & Sunday dinners were her

trade mark. Although she did always work on the ethos –

"Waste not, Want not" Probably a fall back from the

rationing in the war! So Peter & I grew up knowing that

nothing should be wasted in the kitchen. This unfortunately

resulted in quite a traumatic experience for my Auntie Margaret

& Uncle Rob, who had travelled down to see my Mother many

years ago. Auntie Margaret unwittingly mentioned that she had

a number of uneaten marmalade sandwiches left from the

journey. Little did they both know that these were to form the

basis of being transformed that evening to a "Joyce Summer

Pudding". It was only after Rob had enthusiastically praised

Joyce for such a wonderful dessert that the true horror of the

ingredients came to light. As always, my Mother has a

mischievous grin on her face at the sheer naughtiness of what

she had done! I do not think that Auntie Margaret has ever

quite recovered from that experience!Which leads me onto the fact that I think we all loved the fact

that at times Joyce was a little off the wall, quirky, humorous &

in fact downright eccentric at times. I know that these were

adorable that traits she shared with both her Mother & two

brothers, Eric & Roy. As we know, humour has played a great

part in their relationships & has been carried on through the

generations throughout the vast Laslett extended family.

I would say, that Joyce was probably at her most hilarious

without even knowing that she was being funny.

An excellent example of her eccentricity were the names that

she thought up for her beloved Labradors: Jonathon, Teddy,

Dora, Sunshine & Pippi (I could never quite understand where

on earth she thought up all these bizarre names!). Teddy

because he looked like a Teddy bear as a Puppy, Dora, because

she was "Adorable" & Sunshine because she brought so much

"Sunshine" into my Mum's life. But then I am not sure about

Pip! Let's only hope it was not because she thought that she

looked like Auntie Pip!!

But on the subject of Pippi – one of the last conversations we

had was regarding me giving her my absolute assurance her

that I would find Pippi a good home. I am somewhat relieved

that this was actually after the first request to make sure that

my Dad, Raymond was given the very best care! So I would

like to extend my sincere thanks to my cousin Mary & her

husband Chris for adopting Pippi into their family. I know that

Joyce would be smiling down today feeling so pleased that she

was staying within the family.

And as I draw to an end I would like to say a few words about

my Mothers friends. I know that Joyce chose her friends

carefully – and kept them close, staying very loyal as they were

to her. I am delighted that June, Wendy & Robina & other dear

friends are able to join us today. I know that she placed a great

deal of value on your friendship. In addition to the fun &

companionship you gave her over the years, I know that you

were all amazingly supportive when she was going through her treatment over the past 12 months. I know that she found that

great Comfort.

Well I am running out of time. I know that I could carry on for

much longer talking about what a remarkable woman my

Mother, Joyce was in her lifetime. She was a Daughter, Sister,

Wife, Mother, Auntie, Great Auntie, Grandma & Friend.

If I could sum up Joyce in three words they would be


We are all here today to pay our respects for what she

represented in our lives. She was a loving, fun, remarkable, &

inspirational woman.

We are all going to miss her, but are all enriched for having

had her in our lives. She will certainly never be forgotten. x

Some other fond memories of Joyce


Many Sandwich relatives remember several Boxing Day festivities, where Joyce was very hospitable and welcoming to her home. Joyce was an avid gardener who loved to tend her garden. Patrick has fond memories of garden discussions and sharing plants and cuttings. Patrick also remembers Joyce having him and Angela to stay for the weekend in North London and taking him and Angela to Central London and showing them the sights.