Norfolk community life reporter Joyce Harmer dies aged 87

image001Joyce Harmer, who recorded community life in north Norfolk for over 60 years, has died aged 87.

Joyce, who retired only two years ago, took birth, marriage and death announcements for Archant’s Eastern Daily Press and was the longest-serving village correspondent for sister paper, the North Norfolk News.

Over the decades she filled countless news columns, reporting on the activities of clubs and other organisations, churches and charities, as well as events and fundraisers, weddings and funerals, mainly in North Walsham but also in a number of surrounding parishes.

In a poignant last link with her profession, Joyce had prepared her own death notice which appeared in Saturday’s EDP.

It stated that she was reunited with her ‘loved and devoted husband Eric”. Both were former employees of Eastern Counties Newspapers – the company which pre-dated Archant.

Joyce’s newspaper career began with marriage in 1947 to Eric, who was a reporter for the EDP and North Norfolk News.

Joyce became his secretary, working from their bungalow on Cromer Road, North Walsham, and would sometimes help him with major stories.

She accompanied her husband when he visited the scene of the Susan Long murder near Aylsham in 1970. And when Eric was ill with pneumonia, she took a taxi alone to Sea Palling to report on the devastation caused by the East coast floods of January 1953, which claimed lives in the village.

Joyce became a life president of North Walsham’s Good Companions Club, which her husband had helped found.

She also raised thousand of pounds to buy electrocardiogram (ECG) machines and nebulisers for the town’s Paston Surgery, in thanks for their care of her through many years of poor health, including several heart attacks.

Joyce died on March 14 in the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

She had also meticulously planned her funeral, which will be held at St Nicholas’ Church, North Walsham, on Friday, April 1, at 2pm, followed by cremation at St Faith’s. Donations to the Priscilla Bacon Lodge Support Group.

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