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Joy Heffernan (1931-2024)

With great sadness I must report the death on 21st February 2024 of Joy Heffernan, our long serving Chairman and then President, at the family home in Balderstone. She had not been well and had been unable to attend our meeting for some time. Our thoughts are with Seamus, JaneAnn, Kevin and all her family.

Joy became Chairman of the Friends in 1994, and after her retirement, was elected President in 2010. She has been our strenuous advocate, using every opportunity to encourage awareness of and support for the Museum and Art Gallery amongst local politicians. making the Museum better known in the wider community, recruiting notable speakers for meetings, and in countless other ways. She was a prodigious seller of tickets to coffee mornings and garden parties, and was a significant factor in the level of receipts from such events when she was active. Joy and Charles held the first Friends Garden Party in 2007, when we enjoyed the splendid results of Charles’ boundless enthusiasm for digging and planting.

My particular personal gratitude concerns the Friends’ trips to France. Recruitment for the first one in 1992 was slow, and Joy dragooned eight of her friends into coming to Reims. None of them had any prior connection with Blackburn Museum, but without their support it is unlikely the trip would have been viable, and that would probably have been the end of it. As things turned out, it was the first of seven biennial visits; all eight of Joy’s recruits subsequently joined the Friends and four of them were still present on the final French trip in 2004. This sums up in a nutshell her energy, enthusiasm and generosity in support of the Friends.

There will be a longer and more considered tribute to Joy in the next edition of the Tela newsletter later in the year.

Mike Millward, Secretary

The photograph shows Joy with the President of the Friends of Reims Museums, in Reims on the final visit to France, 2004

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Mike Millward

Retired Museum Curator who worked at Blackburn Museum for more than 20 years. Secretary of the Friends of Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery.

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