Remembering Joan Carlile

Remembering Joan Carlile

As Published in the Echo on 9th March 2022, we read: “CARLILE Joan Audrey Who was born on the 28th of August 1928, died on 22 February 2022 after a short illness at Southend University Hospital. She was trained as a state registered nurse and worked alongside her husband, a medical practitioner, in hospitals in Tangiers and Tripoli for eight years from 1955. Later in life she served Milton Ward as one of its councillors for a period of twenty-two years. From 1984-85 she was mayor of Southend-on-Sea. Much loved and missed by family and friends. A service of thanksgiving will take place at St. Lawrence and All Saints Church, Eastwoodbury Lane, Southend-on-Sea, Essex SS2 6UY on Monday 28th March 2022 at 11am, to be followed by interment. Floral Tributes to be delivered to Penrose Funerals, 94 Bridgwater Drive, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, SS0 0DH. For further enquiries please contact Penrose on 01702 436000.” As recorded in the minutes of SOUTHEND-ON-SEA BOROUGH COUNCIL, Meeting of The Council, Thursday, 24th February, 2022, Council Chamber – Civic Suite we read “711 Communications Minutes Silence – Mrs Joan Carlile The Council remained silent for one minute as a mark of respect to Mrs Joan Carlile, former Councillor and Mayor of Southend-on-Sea in 1984-1985, who sadly passed away recently”.

I first met Joan in 1983, when I attended the same church as she and a little later she became mayor of Southend. While I didn’t get to know her well then or thereafter, I got the impression that this was a warm and gracious lady who had the common touch. Some years later, I attended a gathering held in a friend’s house, and Joan was also there. One incident stood out for me – this was of someone who was clearly upset about something that had happened but with Joan there showing wisdom and empathy to calm that person down. My last meeting was when we both attended Southend Hospital for cataract surgery. We had a longish chat before being seen to. One thing I remembered was Joan telling me when she assisted her doctor husband when missionaries in Africa she helped in renewing cataracts in the eyes of those patients attending their hospital.  

Today, I attended Joan’s funeral. This is nothing new for me as I am of an age when people I know, often well, often die around me, and if I can attend their funerals in order to pay my respects I try to do so, although Corona lockdown had called a temporary halt to my attending these occasions. Besides liking to have this chance to say good bye (at least for now) I get to meet old friends, find out things about the deceased I didn’t know and be reminded that life is short and, in the days remaining, we must make the most of it. All this was true today. I couldn’t help smiling that Joan’s charity for giving was Cats Protection, reminding us she also loved animals. It is good when the person we are remembering leaves a legacy, and this was so with Joan. After all, I know of very few who are like her, who has served as a missionary and then got involved in civic life, including becoming mayor, and yet maintained her Christian testimony.

One lovely thought in the tribute given by her son Andrew was when as a young girl living through the London Blitz of World War 2 that she made a deal with God, if she got through all this, she would serve Him for the rest of her life, something she evidently did! When it comes to people I regard as heroes, who make a quantifiable difference and, even if few will know of her these days, Joan is a true role model and one I put right up the top. Rest in peace, Joan!

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