A Hale woman who was used as a model for one of the murals in St Mark’s Church has found her final resting place back in the village.
Joyce Helen Taman, née Eglington, whose ashes were interred in Hale Cemetery on April 5, was born in 1926, and was the model for the figure of Moon when one part of the murals was renovated and repainted in 1946.
Joyce was the youngest of three children and grew up in Vicarage Lane in Hale. She was educated at Hale School where she excelled at maths, and on leaving at the age of 14 was employed in the accounts department at Kinghams, a grocery distribution warehouse in Farnham’s West Street. She married Alexander Mitchell, a member of the military police based at the prisoner-of-war camp in Crookham village whom she met at a dance.
It is not clear how she was chosen to be the model for Moon, but she was always very proud of what she jokingly called her ‘muriel’. By the 1940s, some of the murals which had been painted by Kitty Milroy between 1911 and 1920 required renovation. A fundraising appeal was launched after Easter 1946 and among the fundraisers was the well-known soprano Joan Coxon who put on a concert which raised more than £13, around £500 in today’s money.
The paintings which needed restoring were to the left of the altar where damp had affected them and local painter Evelyn Caesar carried out the restoration, choosing Joyce to sit for Moon. Next to Moon is ‘Clouds’, a male figure, and his identity is still a mystery, as are the identities of many of the figures whom Kitty Milroy painted.
Moon was identified by two of Joyce’s daughters, Jeannette and Wendy-Rae, who came into the church last year while on a nostalgic trip around the area where they grew up. Joyce and Alexander (Alec) settled in Folly Lane North and brought up four children who attended St Mark’s and two even sang in the choir, beneath the picture of their mother.
In later life Joyce remarried and moved to the Midlands and in January this year died in Bournedale House care home in Birmingham at the age of 92. The family and friends returned to St Mark’s this month to celebrate Joyce’s life and her ashes were interred in the cemetery close to others in her family. At the service to celebrate her life, her son-in-law Roger stood beneath the picture of Joyce as Moon and played Blue Moon on his saxophone, a fitting tribute to a much-loved Hale lady.
If anyone has any information on who ‘Clouds’ might be, or any of the other figures in the murals please let us know. You can contact us here or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictured top is Joyce Eglington on her 21st birthday, shortly after she was the model for Moon.
Moon, modelled by Joyce Eglington.