'Special' Worksop woman who left school at 14 and went to university in her 60s celebrates 100th birthday milestone

A Worksop woman who left school at 14 and went on to develop a vibrant academic career at university in her 60s celebrated her 100th birthday over the Easter weekend.

Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 10:55 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 10:58 am

Joyce Milnes marked the milestone on April 3, receiving her congratulatory message from the Queen and surrounded by loved ones.

Daughter Diana Bruce said: “Mum is part of a pretty wonderful generation of strong, independent-minded women who lived quiet ‘unremarkable’ lives but did pretty exceptional things, quietly."

Born in 1921, Joyce has lived in Worksop all her life- including for more than 60 years at her beloved house on Chesterton Drive in the Kilton estate.

Joyce Milnes turned a century old on Saturday, April 3.

She was married to Howard Milnes with whom she had two daughters, Diana and Trudy.

She now has four grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren in the brood.

Joyce originally left school at 14 but returned to education in her 60s, taking O-Levels and A-Levels at Worksop Technical College and later completing the foundation year of an Open University degree in her late 70s, attending its summer school at Durham University.

Her research into education provision in Bassetlaw through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was her last big piece of work.

Joyce now lives at the Old Vicarage Care Home, having developed dementia, but her family say she is ‘far from giving up the ghost’.

"She only stopped her studies when her hearing and eyesight began to fail her in her 80s and she remained an avid newspaper reader and letter writer until well into her 90s,” added Diana.

"She took an active and critical interest in the ways in which big retailers were stealing the heart out of Worksop's town centre with their out of town shopping centres.

"I'm glad she doesn't know what's been happening in more recent times.

"We are so grateful to the staff at the Old Vicarage for helping to make her birthday so special for her and for the family.”

Joyce has featured in the Guardian a number of times for her academic achievements and had a short story of her sprinted in the newspaper in 1998.

Diana added: "The Guardian newspaper was always read from cover to cover and she kept many issues with highlighted sections to share with us when we visited.”

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