Obituary: Joyce Arram

Respected and long-serving member of the Executive of Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel, Joyce Aarram passed away on 11th November. Joyce was a keen supporter of Israel all her life as well as being Deputy President of the Liberal Democrat Lawyers Association and a keen supporter of the National Liberal Club, indeed she was one of the earliest women members to be admitted to club membership. She always read at the NLC Annual St. David’s Dinner. She was a committed Liberal and will be sadly missed by many in the Party.

Joyce was born in the maternity wing of the Whittington Hospital on the 24th March 1935. She left this world in the same hospital on the 11th November, after a fall at home. Joyce always claimed that she was a real cockney on the basis that Dick Whittington heard the bells of Bow Bell on Highgate Hill just outside of what is now the hospital. She said that this is confirmed by the statue of Dick’s cat just outside the hospital.

Joyce was evacuated to Wales when she was 6. She ended up at the village of Argoed just outside Blackwood. There she was taken in by the deputy headmistress of the local junior school, Olwen Harler, and her mother. This was the start of a lifelong friendship. This is the reason why Joyce had such an affinity with Wales. Joyce’s evacuation tag can still be seen in the Museum of London. Joyce spent the whole of the war in Wales and continued to visit Olwen and her family. She was so close to Olwen that when Olwen retired and moved to Carmarthenshire, and she eventually died, she left her cottage to Joyce. Joyce continued to visit the cottage and was part of the village community. She entered into village life and often won prizes at the local horticultural events for her produce grown in her garden. Joyce threw herself into the Welsh culture and belonged to many Welsh societies such as the Welsh biological gardens and the Antiquarian Society

Joyce was a very community-minded person. She organised her neighbours in Summerlee Gardens, Finchley so that her street was a community in its own right. She arranged street parties, visits to the panto for the children of the street and was in the front of the campaign to protect the small municipal orchard at the end of her cul-de-sac. She did not let her green fingers stay in Wales and was a member of the local horticultural society and submitted her vegetables in the annual competitions.

Joyce was a member of a number of organisations and societies. She was on the council of the RSA, belonged to the RHS, National Trust and English Heritage.

When Joyce started work in the legal profession she was a Managing Clerk. However, she saw that this role was undervalued and was a leading light in the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) which transformed legally trained support staff into a professional vocation. She was also driving force in obtaining a Royal Charter for CILEx

Joyce was educated at Camden High School, part of the Girls Day School Trust.

One story from the swinging sixties was that along with other ‘young’ liberals she went to the Caribbean to help in the elections. After the result, she and the others tasted the local liquid hospitality a bit too much and spent a few hours in the local judiciary ‘hotels’ for being drunk and disorderly. I understand that in the morning when they had sobered up they were let go and no charges were laid. Perhaps this was Joyce seeking to understand fully the legal profession!

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