Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Here's a family tribute to the life of ex-Brigg resident Joan Dodd (Feb 9, 1919-Feb 8, 2010). Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.

Joan Dodd, a well-known Brigg personality, died in Manchester, the day before her 91st birthday. Having lived in Brigg for 87 years, she moved last year to Manchester due to ill-health so her family could care for her.
Although Joan was born in High Wycombe she moved to Brigg with her parents at the age of three as her father, Fred Lyon, a survivor from the Battle of the Somme, was to join the family business, Lyon’s Bakery in Market Lane,. He went on to run this in its new home in Grammar School Road for many years with Joan’s mother, Dorothy, and brother, John. As a teenager, Joan helped out in the baker’s shop, and delivering bread to the nearby villages, all the time saving her pocket money for extra dancing lessons.
Joan was primarily known in Brigg for her huge contribution to drama in the town, both as actress, dancer, and later as teacher and director. In her early years she danced in many shows for the Brigg Operatic Society, famously executing the most testing totem-pole dance in Rosemarie. She later went on to act in many productions for the Glanford Players, always with the trade-mark star quality that earned her commendable newspaper reviews.
Meanwhile, Joan studied for her LAMDA Gold Medal and began to teach drama and elocution, extending her enthusiasm to her own growing family who all enjoyed participating in the Brigg Music and Drama Festival, fostering their own life-long love of drama, theatre and music.
In the late 1940s Joan began teaching at the Manor House Convent School, where she remained for nearly 20 years, again inspiring many students to enjoy drama and poetry as much as she did. But her long-term ambition was to run her own Children’s Theatre School, which she finally realised in 1965, beginning with one Saturday afternoon class in the back room at the Black Bull public house in Brigg. This grew in acclaim over the following years to such an extent that she had a waiting list of children she could not accommodate. With Theatre School she continued the huge support for the annual Brigg Festival, with many individual entries in the poetry classes, and creative group entries of mime, dance-drama and one-act plays.
However, Joan’s true love of theatre was now something she could pursue and she went on to produce some major shows including The Wizard of Oz, Oliver, Peter Pan, The Sound of Music and the King and I. Friends from the Operatic Society rallied round with support in some of the adult roles, and she had enormous help from a fantastic team of workers backstage, with Stage Manager Roy Rae, and Costume Designer Anne Jeffrey.
Along the way Joan found time for other ventures – learning to play the cornet in the early 1960s in order to help re-establish the once successful Brigg Town Silver Band. She was at one time the only lady member of the band, competing with them in competitions at Nottingham, Leicester and Bell Vue, Manchester under the direction of their conductor Geoff Benson. She also took up the game of golf in the 1970s, playing at Elsham and becoming Ladies’ Captain.
Joan had married the journalist Ted Dodd in 1938 and they went on to raise a family of five children. Ted’s death at the end of the 1990s, along with the that of both Richard and Robert was understandably a challenge to the vibrant personality that Brigg had known for so long, and at that point she began to take a less active role in Brigg life.
Although her interests and activities were energetic and wide-ranging, and her love of family was the main core, this was inextricably linked to her identity with Brigg – both the town and its people.


Ken Harrison said...

When my daughter was about 15, Joan offered her some acting tuition.
At the age of 16, when still a pupil at SJN, she won a place in the National Youth Theatre.....from there my daughter has played with the RSC.

Ken Harrison said...

My paternal granddad was gassed at the Somme in 1916.
Fortunately,he survived, but was left with a permanent chesty cough.