Parish of Leatherhead - Joan Burnett 1915-2005

from the November 2005 issue of the Parish Magazine

These recollections of Joan have been contributed by some of her many friends from church in affectionate remembrance. She died this summer and her ashes were interred in the Garden of Remembrance on 13th October. Joan was involved in so many organisations that it is hard to include them all - she was a long-time member of the Friends of Leatherhead Hospital, Friends of the Parish Church, Mothers' Union, to name but a few, not to mention the beautiful tablecloths she made and her annual gift of a magnificent basket of fruit for the Autumn Market.

Sheila Ford writes: Joan came to Leatherhead when she was six, and her father was Verger here for 45 years. Joan joined the C of E Guild of Vergers as an Associate Verger in 1989 and much enjoyed their meetings and rallies. She worked at the School for the Blind during the war when it was used for wounded servicemen, and went on to work at Leatherhead Hospital for 25 years. She maintained the Church electoral roll, which she took over in 1989 and was a member of the Friends of the Parish Church Committee for a number of years.

Alison Wright recalls: I had first-hand experience of Joan Bumett's nursing skills in 1972 when I spent three weeks in Leatherhead hospital with bronchitis. Her brisk "good morning" and no-nonsense approach were a tonic. She later persuaded me to take over from her as Membership Secretary of the Friends of the Parish Church; a hard act to follow as she had already raised the membership from 50 to 500 - there was no one left to recruit! I am proud to own two wooden trays with
glass-protected embroideries worked by Joan, which she gave me some years ago and two little china thimbles left in her will - a truly loyal friend.

Linda Heath remembers: I first got to know Joan through the Friends of Leatherhead Hospital Committee, of which she was an indefatigable member. Also at our monthly Sunday services at Leatherhead hospital, which only illness prevented her from attending. Afterwards, we would all repair to her flat where, over coffee, we would put the world to rights. Over the years she compiled a scrapbook of items from the Leatherhead Advertiser, which she gave to the Local History Society. These provide invaluable records of local events. I remember her telling me how her father used to take her with her sister as children down to Church Street on Sunday evenings to watch the traffic!

Joan Ralph writes: Les and I got to know Joan through social events organised by the Friends of Leatherhead Hospital and the Friends of the Parish Church. She was always a good friend to us both, and after Les died nobody could have been kinder or more understanding than Joan. I could pop over to her flat at any time and she would say, "Come on in, I'm just putting the kettle on". That's real friendship. When she died it seemed to me to be the end of an era.

Many people will remember Joan with much affection.

If you have more photos of Joan or further remembrance to add, please contact Frank Haslam, the editor of these pages.

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last updated 27 Nov 2005