A HEREFORD centenarian celebrated her special birthday this month.

The only child of Harry and Florence Potter, Joyce was born on 9 July 1919 at 22 Ryelands Street in Hereford.

The family moved briefly to Cardiff when Joyce was very young, but Florence was a Hereford girl, and by 1927 they had returned to Hereford, moving into Saint Ethelbert Street, next door to Hereford’s well-remembered citizen, Dr Francis.

Joyce was educated at Hereford High School for Girls, before training in office skills and, following a secretarial career, was secretary to the manager of the National Provincial Bank (now the NatWest) at the Broad Street branch.

Here she met her future husband, Kenn Eckley. They were engaged when he was called up in 1940, and were married at St Peter’s church on his demob in 1946.

Kenn’s work moved them around the country but with both having strong family ties to the county, the plan was always to retire to Herefordshire.

This became reality with the purchase of a house in Yarkhill in 1969.

Joyce immediately started playing an active role in the community. She was soon asked to be secretary of the parochial church council (because they knew she had a typewriter!).

She joined the Ashperton WI, becoming branch president for a year, was a regular helper at the Over Sixties club, and a member of the Yarkhill Village Hall management committee.

A keen musician, she loved playing the piano, and felt quite honoured when she was asked to become organist at Yarkhill church, an invitation she happily accepted.

For nearly 30 years, she played at weekly services, weddings and funerals, and on occasion at other churches in the shared ministry.

She also took on the duties of sacristan for Yarkhill church. Joyce still lives in the home that she and Kenn purchased 50 years ago, cared for by her elder daughter.

She celebrated her birthday with a party arranged by her daughters and attended by family, friends and neighbours.