VIDEO: Watch Scarborough resident Joan Taylor sing 'This is My Lovely Day' as she celebrates her 100th birthday

She credits faith, family and music as reasons for a long and healthy life

By Louise Perrin
Monday, 6th December 2021, 9:54 am

A Scarborough woman has celebrated her 100th birthday at Montrosa Independent Living on Esplanade Road.

Joan Margaret Taylor (nee Waring) was born in Leeds on November 29 1921. The family lived near Armley until 1926 when Joan, parents Wilfred and Lizzie and brothers Ken and Roy moved to Hyde Park in the city.

At the age of 14, Joan worked in a wool shop and went on to work at Crockatts Dyers and Cleaners on Hyde Park Corner.

Gaynor Loggie celebrates with Joan Taylor

She worked there until she was conscripted in 1942.

Joan said: “On 31 st October 1942 I reported to a Nissen Hut in the grounds of Queen Ethelburga’s School in Harrogate for my three and half weeks training.

“After three and a half years I was demobbed and returned to Crockatts, ending up in the Moortown branch.

“About a year later I heard that the manageress at the Scarborough branch was leaving.

Long-serving staff member Gaynor Loggie with Joan Taylor and Home manager Richard Pratt

“I managed to get a transfer to Scarborough and moved on October 31 1947 and stayed in that post for five and a half years.

“During this time I joined the Scarborough Operatic Society and took part in three shows at the Open Air Theatre – Chu Chin Chow, The Song of Norway and Desert Song.

“About 10 of the sopranos became friendly – one of whom trained girls taken on pre-season at the Telephone Exchange which was then above the GPO on Aberdeen Walk.

“I started in a class of eight in May 1953 knowing that some, but not all, would be kept on to fill vacancies.

Joan Taylor

“It was a risk, but I felt it was the right thing to do. I returned on December 15 and stayed for 24 years, taking early retirement in June 1977.

“I had become more involved with singing after moving to Scarborough.

“I joined the Scarborough Choral Society and retired in January 2014 – legs weaker than the voice.”

Joan was an active member in a number of singing groups in Scarborough including Friends in Harmony with pianist Marjorie Raine, and later Freda Briggs and The Cornelian Singers with Betty Dawson, Barbara Shaw and Maureen Gibson. She also conducted Ayton Ladies Choir for 12 years.

Joan said: “I got to know Marjorie and Frank Taylor. Both were involved in Hospital Radio and I joined the team. Some time later Marjorie died.

“Frank was on his own for three and a half years. Frank and I married in 1983.

“I was immediately adopted by Frank’s family – daughter Elizabeth, son Graeme, son-in-law Michael, grandchildren Paula and Jonathan, and their children, Holly, Taylor, Jacob and Isobel – and enjoyed the fun and love of a ready-made family.”

Joan said of the secret to a long life: “My faith, family and music have all helped me through the difficult times, and I thank God daily for the many happy years in my life.”