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Open Features: A Tribute To Joyce Hinchliffe

A message from Peter Hinchliffe, Open Writing Editor.

My wife, Joyce Hinchliffe, died suddenly last week at the age of 68.

Joyce worked alongside me, helping to put out Open Writing every day.

She attended her weekly Spanish class in the Yorkshire town nearest our home, At lunchtime she walked back to her car in a multi-storey car park with Sheila, an 84-year-old friend. She was happily chattering away.

When they were in the car she asked Sheila if she had fastened her seat belt. She then started the engine. Half-turning, she said “Sheila I feel...’’

She collapsed, dying in the instant of a massive brain haemorrhage.

Today Joyce, who was born and raised in Texas, is being buried in a small churchyard in the Yorkshire hill village where we live.

Joyce was a loyal Christian. She tried every day to help others.

Part of my therapy in coping with an almost unbearable loss will be to try to ensure that Open Writing continues.

The following is an unsolicited article by that thoughtful and compassionate columnist John Merchant, who writes regularly from the USA.

I really didn’t know Joyce Hinchliffe in the conventional sense. We never conversed; I never gave her a hug, or ate her cooking, or even looked her in the eye. Yet I knew her.

I knew she was from a small town in northern Texas, and I knew that, improbably enough, she there met and fell in love with a rookie newshound from, of all places, Huddersfield in Yorkshire, England.

I knew that she loved Peter enough to marry him and follow him anywhere in the globe that his ambitions took him. I knew that she bore and raised his children, and that she was his constant companion and support in all he did.

I knew that when Peter’s roots drew him back to Yorkshire she embraced a locale and a culture as different from her Texas rearing as could be. I knew that she was a tireless volunteer in the cause of literacy, and a mainstay of Open Writing. I knew that she read my writing and sometimes liked it.

Joyce died suddenly on October 20, 2008. She will be sadly missed by many who, like me, hardly knew her.

John Merchant – American Pie


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