Thespian and pillar of the Budleigh Salterton community Joy Gawne has died at the age of 103.

Joy’s funeral will be held at St Peter’s Church on Friday, January 26 at 1pm.

There will be family flowers only, but attendees are encouraged to wear a sprig of red as it was her favourite colour. All are welcome afterwards at 3a West Terrace, opposite the church.

She spent the last three years of her life in Bay Court Nursing home, where she was well cared for – although her ability to project her voice when she wanted service caused some comment!

Joy contributed a lot to the Budleigh community through all her various activities - and enjoyed herself very much.

Joy moved to Cramalt Lodge in Budleigh in 1953 with her father and two sisters, Elizabeth and Aalish.

She was already an enthusiastic thespian, having been involved in the Berry Pomeroy Players.

This interest continued in Budleigh where Joy was a stalwart of the “Drama Club”. As well as performing in many productions, with the late Joyce Evans she gave a memorable double act as the Red and White Queens in Alice. She then became wardrobe mistress for the club.

Exmouth Journal: Joy Gawne has died aged 103.Joy Gawne has died aged 103. (Image: Supplied)

Her collection of costumes grew and were displayed at Cramalt Lodge during her sister, Aalish’s, fundraising events. These displays were never really put away year on year.

This event grew and grew... till her eldest sister suggested somewhat facetiously that she buy the Cottage Orné that was for sale in the town, so that the costumes could be displayed there, and the family have their house back.

Together with her friend Priscilla Hull, the idea became reality, and Failrlynch was acquired, in 1967.

The museum took up a major amount of Joy’s time until she was well into her 90s.

She organised the stewards’ rota for many years and was also a considerable local historian with encyclopedic knowledge of Budleigh families and property, all meticulously recorded in hundreds of ring binders.

An inveterate hoarder, nothing was ever thrown away, in case it might come in useful, leading to mammoth sorting when eventually the house had to be sold.

Joy lived alone at Cramalt after the death of her oldest sister in 1992, and she always enjoyed opening the house and garden whenever possible for Hospiscare Open Gardens with teas, or Shakespeare plays on the Terrace. Many happy family gatherings and events were held at the house.

Thanks to Marcia Williams, Joy’s live-in carer for five years, she was still in her own home to celebrate her hundredth birthday. Despite it being lockdown some family were able to be there, and a contingent from Fairlynch sang happy birthday to her from the garden.