The first four Lady Taverners Presidents, Angela Rippon, Joan Morecambe, Rachael Heyhoe Flint and Judy Chalmers, at Lord's 2011.jpg

Joan Morecambe

Following the sad news that the founding President of the Lady Taverners, Joan Morecambe, passed away recently, former Lord’s Taverners Presidents Sir Tim Rice and Sir Richard Stilgoe have paid fitting tributes.

It must have been difficult to play a public second fiddle to Eric Morecambe, simply because Eric was such a dynamic force of nature when appearing for the Taverners, whether on stage or off, whether at the centre of things or around the boundary. But Joan carried this daunting task off with aplomb and charm.

After the umpire of umpires finally raised his digit to send the great man back to the pavilion, sad to say well before his time, Joan continued to represent the Morecambe link to the noble cause with dedication and warmth. My mother (also Joan) lived near to Joan in Harpenden and the two glamorous senior citizens would often share a reasonably modest limo from Harpenden to wherever the Taverners were whipping up a charitable storm. My Joan understandably looked forward to the journey as much as to the actual event - whether or not the latter was scheduled to be attended by royalty or merely a batch of megastars.

Joan Morecambe was a Taverners superstar, and she will be enormously missed.

Sir Tim Rice

Everybody knew Eric Morecambe. He was a vital part of our lives, and especially of our Christmas nights. Not nearly enough people knew Joan Morecambe, the anchor who kept his comic craft secure. The Taverners knew her, of course; with us, she was no longer Eric’s consort, but a star in her own right, guiding the Lady Taverners with gentle wisdom from the very start. 

Eric was also a tireless Taverner, and one of the most exhausting people to be with – constantly looking for opportunities to create laughter, as though his doctor had told him that he would stop breathing if he didn’t make someone laugh every thirty seconds. He must have been exhausting to live with; exciting, and never dull, but exhausting. Which is why he needed Joan, his place of safety, who gave up her career so that his star could shine and supported him through the early struggles and the later triumphs. My mum was called Joan. Tim Rice’s mum was called Joan. You get nowhere in show business without a close relative called Joan. 

For Eric, and for the Lady Taverners, Joan Morecambe was someone who played all the right notes, and in the right order.

Sir Richard Stilgoe



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