Memorial service for Joan

Tom and Joan Hughes
Tom and Joan Hughes

A PONTELAND woman who was well known in the community and honoured by the Queen has died.

Joan Hughes was born in 1921 at Edgbaston in Birmingham, but is fondly remembered in Ponteland where she came to live with husband Tom in the late 1960s.

She was one of twin girls, born Harris, who did everything together. A younger sister completed the family. The twins went to Roedean for their secondary education, where Mrs Hughes was Deputy Head Girl, and both of them were good at sport and eventually went onto Bedford PT College to train as teachers.

The twins taught in Wantage and later joined the Land Army. After her release Mrs Hughes went back to teaching and in 1947 she met Tom, an RAF veteran who flew Spitfires during the war until he was shot down over Monte Cassino and captured by the Germans. He spent about a year as a POW before an exchange brought him home.

The twins continued to act in unison and they both got married on the same day in 1949, but in different churches.

Mr Hughes’ engineering career took them to different places, but his last move was to Ronsons in Cramlington and to Ponteland to live in 1968.

Mrs Hughes was involved in the then extensive Meals on Wheels programme run by the WRVS and soon worked her way up to become the County Organiser. She was quietly efficient and ran a well-oiled operation, which brought recognition in the award of an MBE in 1983.

Her sporty side led to her joining Ponteland Golf Club and in 1997 she became the Ladies’ Captain, which she handled with great diplomacy, and she had a successful year. The first team won the County Shield for the most points and Mrs Hughes organised a celebration supper.

Mr Hughes died on December 31, 2010, leaving his wife devastated.

Last year Mrs Hughes enjoyed a family celebration near London for her 90th birthday.

Mrs Hughes died on April 7 after illness. She is remembered affectionately by the many people she worked and socialised with in Ponteland and the wider community.

A Memorial Service will be held at St Mary’s Church on Wednesday from 2pm.

MURIEL SOBO