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Volunteer Joyce Celebrates 90th Birthday

AMONG the younger volunteers who keep Bexhill Museum running there is one helper who is even younger in heart.

When Joyce Philpott is not taking her turn at the independent, accredited, Egerton Road museum she is busy helping ring the bells at St Peter’s Church. 

joyceColleagues at the museum marked a special birthday for Joyce last Thursday. A table in the Education Room was laid out with wine and delicious home-made scones and other nibbles.


But it was the birthday cake which had pride of place. As well it might for Joyce has just celebrated her 90th.

Joyce came to Bexhill Museum after an adventurous life. She is a holder of the Bletchley Park Medal, awarded to those who served in the centre where the Nazi Enigma Code was cracked. Prime Minister Winston Churchill later described the team as: “The goose that laid the golden egg but never cackled.”

Joyce explained how she came to handle top secret encrypts: “I was a WAAF for four years during the war. I am a shorthand typist and they were looking for shorthand typists so I volunteered and found myself at Bletchley Park.

 “I didn’t go back into civilian life until 1952. My husband was a serving soldier in the Seaforth Highlanders.”Joyce later served as practice manager in a doctors’ surgery.

Asked why she volunteered her services to the museum, Joyce said: “I had recently retired. I like working with other people. I was just interested in antiques and the museum.

“They are such a nice group of people here.”

Colleagues raised a glass to Joyce as curator Julian Porter wished her a happy birthday on their behalf, thanked her for being a Bexhill Museum volunteer and presented her with a gift. 

“We do appreciate all the time you spend here and it also a pleasure to know you.”

Joyce, already proficient on the computer she acquired a year ago, said: “I was asked last week if I feel older now I am 90. I feel younger! Thank you very much for all this.” The candles on Joyce’s cake – no, not 90 of them – had to be lit outside on the entrance steps or, as Julian explained, the alarms would be triggered and the fire service would be joining the party.

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