Joyce (70) will be missed

Joyce Yates. (S)

Joyce Yates. (S)

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The funeral of a former Barnoldswick woman who will be sadly missed by all was attended by friends and family from across the country.

Joyce Yates (70) died at her Norfolk home just three months before her 50th wedding anniversary.

Born in 1944, Joyce was the eldest child of George and Queenie Ashby, and after school in Ilkley, she took a secretarial course at what is now West Craven High School.

She worked in the offices at Ouzledale Foundry and at Rolls-Royce’s Ghyll Brow site when she married Howard Yates, a schoolmaster, in 1965 and the newlyweds moved to Bolton.

Mrs Yates studied successfully for a piano diploma and discovered a pleasure in choral singing when she joined a ladies choir from Darwen.

She worked for Bolton Corporation’s Entertainments Department, but moved with her husband to Uganda in 1972 when Mr Yates got a teaching post.

However, they moved back to the UK in 1973 when Idi Amin’s murderous regime’s behaviour became problematic for British expatriates. The couple had their first child, Alasdair, in 1974.

In 1977, the family again moved abroad, this time to Kenya, where they stayed for four years.

Joyce worked at the Kenya Conservatoire of Music, teaching piano with much success, frequently getting her students the best results in exams set by the London-based Royal Schools of Music.

Returning to the UK in 1980, the Yates’s second child Robin was born and the family moved to Surrey,

In 1984, they again moved, this time to the Royal Hospital School in Suffolk where Mrs Yates began teaching piano privately too.

She later learned to play the flute and began teaching her second instrument, garnering good results, and overcame a cancer scare in 1996.

In 2001, she was appointed as “Mistress of the Robes” to the school choir, a post which involved ironing up to 50 surplices and naval collars every fortnight for the choir trebles, and more frequently when the choir toured.

She has ironed robes for the choir in St Paul’s, London, in Greenwich, in Salzburg and in the crypt of Notre Dame, Paris.

In 2005, the Yates’s retired to Norfolk and Mrs Yates joined Diss Choir and became a school governor. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2013 and 2014, but remained positive throughout, continuing to take part in village activities.