In loving memory of Joy Mellor who sadly passed away on 4th May 2021
The funeral service was held on Wednesday 2nd June at Randalls Park Crematorium. Due to limited capacity, attendance was by invitation only, however the Order of Serice, Eulogy and Slideshow Video are shared on this page – and you are welcome to leave a personal tribute below.
How can we hope to cover nearly 100 years of life here today, a life where Joy experienced extremes of happiness and sadness, sharing the former and dealing privately with the latter?
A recently compiled ‘letter of memories’ has been drawn upon for this eulogy for Joy and we hope the next few minutes will remind you all of some of the highlights of a long life, well lived.
Born in Manchester, Moss Side, on the 19th of June 1921, to Frank and Nora Carlton very little is known about Joy’s early years, but Joy was joined by her younger sister Pamela 3 years later.
Apparently shy, but hard working and studious Joy won a scholarship to Withington Girls’ School, still one of the best in the country, where she was clearly a model student. Even in the early days, she always had an eye for fashion which was later fully manifested when she enrolled at The Lucy Clayton School of Modelling.
Having completed her education and in need of work, Joy enrolled on a secretarial course, as was typical in those days. In different times who knows what path Joy would have chosen with her head for business, fashion and a love of words!
In 1936 Joy and Jimmy met at a dance, it was love at first sight. Joy was only 15 which caused some sleepless nights for her parents, but as we know, she was not a lady to be easily deterred. After a relentless campaign involving a high level of persuasion and a small measure of emotional blackmail her parents finally agreed to her marrying Jim some 4 years later. With WW2 underway as a backdrop, they tied the knot on the 10 August 1940 for what was to be a very long and happy union with the arrival of David completing their family in May 1943. As newlyweds, they lived for a number of years with Jim’s parents and maiden aunts in Didsbury, Manchester before moving to the North east, for Jim’s job at ICI, which then took them to Solihull.
Joy having lived in Manchester, Virginia Water and the North East found her dream home in Solihull, and shared many happy times there with family and friends. It was in this house that Joy discovered her Pa, a WW1 Somme survivor, had introduced his young grandson, David to the evils of smoking, a slight lapse in his usual parental “good standing” which was regularly defended by David.
Then came the momentous move to India for the couple. Such a change of direction: unexpected and unplanned, with her dream house in Solihull sold and all possessions in storage, Joy set sail with Jim waving farewell to David with a heavy heart. The following 6 years were spent living in the Oriental Club, Calcutta, an overwhelming experience and one that was to influence and impact the rest of her life. Joy disliked the Indian heat, the dust and the poverty but she did develop a love of horse racing, which stayed with her to the end of her days. In later life, Joy frequented the bookies annually to place a bet for the grand national, or could be found in the stands at Ascot with friends. She was never short of a reliable tip for family and friends and would always support the boxing day trips to Kempton with a telephone help line – the ultimate racing “phone a friend”!
Joy’s time in India was spent supporting Jimmy as his dutiful wife, seeing the key sights of Rajasthan watching Polo and becoming an accomplished bridge player. Although, somehow Joy managed to avoid falling into the trap of drinking pink gin with the other wives during their card playing afternoons. Returning annually to London to meet up with David, Martin and other friends, she hosted lunches at London’s Cafe Royal, while renting an apartment near Pam in the famous Dolphin Square.
Leaving India in 1968 Joy and Jim settled in Wimbledon, in an apartment in Lakeview Court, SW19, located next to the all England Tennis Club – Joy quickly became known in Wimbledon Village by shop keepers and bank staff alike with her regular visits. Instantly recognisable as a lady, she was never without an umbrella, always in stylish clothing her appearance immaculate, and always reliably friendly, ready with a smile. As well as her impeccable outward appearance, Joy was no slouch intellectually. A regular crossword doer with more reference books than Waterstones, frequently found strewn around the sitting room, Jim could sometimes be found puzzling as to when he would be fed as she pursued important matters of the mind.
Joy and Jim indulged in an annual two-week holiday in the Italian lakes, elegant Stresa on Lake Maggiore was their favourite spot. They loved it there, befriending several local families, and frequently returning with the traditional local keepsake of these holidays: the famous Pinocchio toys which Ben and Rachel were the grateful recipients.
It was no surprise that Jim, on the point of retiring, instead continued working. His tireless support for British trade to India was rewarded with an M.B.E, a well-earned acknowledgement for both Jim and Joy, and receiving the honour was a proud day for the whole family, but none more so than Jim’s wife and son.
If not out having dinner or lunching at the Oriental Club in London, Jim and Joy would be based at Lakeview Court which become party central, especially in the height of summer. Joy’s signature dish: salmon served with her now famous salmon sauce was always followed by pavlova and strawberries. Jim was the perfect foil to Joy and became the best possible host, ensuring glasses never ran dry and lubricating many fun times shared with friends and family over many years.
Resigned to the fact that David would never marry, Joy was both surprised and pleased with the arrival of Ruth, closely followed by the births of grandchildren: Ben and Rachel. These changes saw Christmases, birthdays and Easters celebrated as an extended family, often joined by Pam and her husband John. Joy and her new daughter-in-law Ruth regularly took Ben and Rachel on expeditions revolving around shopping, drinking coffee, eating scones and chatting – engaging so completely with each other it was inevitable that the kids were frequently (temporarily) misplaced.
As the family continued grow, Joy welcomed Steve & Karolina and her great grandchildren: Adam, Archie, Ben (LB) Luke and at last Charlotte, a great granddaughter! Joy frequently enjoyed times in Ruth’s garden when all the family would gather and it was here she could be observed, uncharacteristically silent, just taking the time to sit back and watch her family. She especially enjoyed the antics of the younger ones.
In the wake of the loss of both David and Jimmy, Joy assumed the role of head of the family, a matriarch of sorts. Unwavering in her strength and never shy to speak her mind, as questionable choices were made by the various younger family members, inevitably the regular cry of: ‘who’s brave enough to tell Granny Joy!” could be heard. The whole family were proud of her and knew how much they were fiercely loved. As a consequence, Joy was regularly wheeled out to meet friends young and old, to see who would pass the reliable Joy Litmus Test. She was always well informed and up to date with current affairs, always chatty and engaging in any company and at times brutally honest with her opinions – if asked.
The telephone was never out of her hand, and would usually run red hot, but we all knew never to call on a Saturday or Sunday morning. It was during these times Joy had a friendly competition with her old friend Muriel, to see who could complete the telegraph crossword first. With brains as well as beauty, she cared deeply about appearances – in fact, it could be argued that Joy single handedly held 50% of the world’s stock of hairspray at any given moment and yet still felt the need to buy more; her weekly trip to the hairdresser was one appointment never missed! The flower display on her balcony was worthy of a mention at Chelsea, supported by a watering system that defeated most.
Joy was never without nail varnish, eyebrow pencil and tweezers and although she could not be described as being vain – never so much as glancing in a mirror – when made-up for the day, only a re-application of lipstick was ever required. History recalls her once realising that she had left a make-up bag in Manchester, and on discovering it missing as she drove into Lakeview Court, without cooling the engine, turned the car round completed a 700 plus round trip to retrieve the vital bag, driving all night.
Joy had a car called Dolly, it was a very up market Austin, leather seats, walnut dashboard and a reliable built-in car wash from Jim every Sunday. Taught to drive by Jim to double de-clutch, Joy came from an era where no driving test was needed and certainly no highway code, she just started the engine and went! And she did until at the grand age of 97! Dolly was sold many years ago but no car evoked such fond memories for Joy the way Dolly did.
Joy, once met, could never be forgotten: she had friends the world over and corresponded frequently; sharing news and enjoying hearing news in return. She was extremely loyal to friends, and family and invoked an enduring depth of love and loyalty. Undoubtedly, she had high standards, was not always easy to please, but she was a one off, where no comparison could be made. She laughed, she lived, and she will be greatly missed by those who lucky enough to have shared just some of her near 100 years.
Joy was one of the first people I met when I moved into Lakeview Court 14 years ago, we had many coffee mornings over the years and she was a good friend. She will be missed by many.
Joy was my mother’s best friend at school and from the moment I met her I could understand why . Our 30 year age difference did not preclude a warm friendship but Joy I am sure always made friends easily. I was drawn to her warmth , energy and enthusiasm for life ,particularly politics and her constant interest in others . She was always immaculately turned out and loved company and exchange of ideas. I will miss our little outings to her favourite Italian in Wimbledon very much . She was a true stalwart of her generation and her determination to live independently into her 90’s was typical of her character .
My Dear Mrs Mellor
Until we meet again.
Love you always, Sue xxx
I first met Joy in 1966 when a small group of young people used to meet at the Cafe Royal when she returned from India and where she held court with David, Martin and me amongst some others. She was vibrant, beautiful, always immaculate and interested in everything and everyone. She was quite mesmerising to my 19 year old self and remained so for over 50 years.
Martin recalls the flat at Dolphin Square and the soirées at Lakeview Court with Jim and Joy’s fascinating friends.
Her beloved son David was our close friend and best man at our wedding and godfather to our eldest so Tim. Until recently she often joined us on Boxing Day where she reigned supreme within the Chilcott clan.
Joy was kind, supportive and loving and we will miss her enormously.
Diana and Martin Chilcott xx
Joy was a true friend. A 25 year age gap made no difference to her steadfast loyalty. Having met Joy in 2001 upon moving to Lakeview Court, she took me and my husband Barry under her wing and made us welcome. Over the next 20 years she was always kind, caring and full of good cheer and good conversation.
We will miss her always.
We met Joy and Jim in Calcutta as Vijai my husband was a colleague of Jim in GKN . We enjoyed several dinners at The Bengal Club where they lived it was a friendship that carried on even after they returned to the UK . My memories of Joy were of a lady warm gracious and elegant always beautifully groomed with a sparkle in her eyes as she remembered her days in India . Even though I could not meet Joy whenever We came to London we had long chats on the phone and she was very happy to hear from me . Vijai and I will
miss a dear friend and role model .