Joan Lancaster

Photo with Joan and Wally 5th and 4th from the left, taken on the occasion of Dorothy Hood’s 90th birthday celebrations in 2001

Joan Lancaster died in mid-March 2023, just a month short of her 90th birthday. She was a member of Milton Keynes Natural History Society for many years, along with her husband Wally who died in 2009. As her daughter Ann has said: “The Natural History Society has been a big part of Mum & Dad’s lives and they made lots of good friends there”.

Joan and Wally were very active members of the Society and were very good friends with near neighbours Margaret and John Wickham. They generally travelled together to meetings and were known as the ‘Bletchley 4’ in some quarters! They were regulars at indoor and outdoor meetings and events such as moth trapping, recording or trips further afield. They were also always very caring and concerned for the well-being of other members.  From 1992 to 1999 Joan was Treasurer of the Society. In later years, Joan and her good friend Margaret would often be Roy Maycock’s assistants, helping him collect plant specimens on society outings. She continued to be an active member until about three years ago when she moved down to Dorset to be nearer to her daughter and other family there.

Her particular natural history interests were in birds and wild flowers and she contributed a lot of time and effort to the plant surveys carried out by the Society at the newly established Hazeley Wood as part of a wider monitoring programme. She and Wally led plenty of walks on the summer programme for the Society over the years, and a particular favourite was to Sewell cutting, a great place to see orchids and other chalk grassland flowers. By coincidence there will be a walk to Sewell cutting on the summer programme this year on 23rd May.

Apart from admiring the orchids, those who knew Joan may pause a moment to remember her there, “a lovely lady”, a kind and generous person who enjoyed a joke and was always ready to help others. It’s a great privilege to have known both Joan and Wally and we send our sincere condolences to her family.

Linda Murphy and Martin Kincaid

PS For those who remember the people standing in the photo, from left to right they are Kent Fox, Bernard Frewin, Jean Kent, Margaret Wickham, Wally Lancaster, Joan Lancaster, Frances Higgs,  John Prince, Audrey Prince, George Higgs, John Wickham. Dorothy is sitting down. (8 of the group now deceased….)