JOAN DAVALLE APRIL 1926 - JULY 2011
It is with the utmost sadness and regret that The Friends of Honeywood Museum report the death of our dear friend and enthusiastic supporter Joan Davalle on the 19th July. We extend our deepest sympathy to her husband Peter and recall their popular shows performed on our behalf with great affection and gratitude.
Joan Davalle, nee Rees, was born in the village of Pontllanfraith in the Sirhowy Valley. She was Welsh from head to toe. A somewhat rebellious school child, Joan won the youngest scholarship to Cardiff College of Art. She graduated, of course and due to a bit of match-making by Peter’s sister, her life-long marriage was soon founded.
Joan’s father was a blacksmith and her mother a teacher. From her parents she inherited her love of art and her strength of character. Joan was caring, generous, thoughtful and kind. She had a devilish sense of humour though and delighted in heated debate, which to be honest, she quite often generated. On those occasions, whether or not her opinion prevailed she would deliver any protagonist a verbal ‘clip round the ear’! Those who remember rehearsals for Peter’s production of The Maid of The Oaks at Honeywood in May 2007 will recall a few such moments.
Joan and Peter’s hospitality at home was legendary. Peter would take up his seat at their baby grand piano and Joan would launch into song with her powerful, pitch perfect, contralto voice. Her speaking voice is recorded for posterity on our CDs of their keynote show ‘Good evening Mr Dickens’, as well as Joan’s reading of Val Coleman’s poetry.
She was angered by the debilitating condition that was to last and advance for more than two and a half years. Joan, of course, was not a good patient and railed against her doctors and medication. Ultimately the burden fell on Peter and his care was tireless and a reflection of the real love they shared.
Peter and Joan travelled thousands of miles together, performing shows and raising a huge sum of money for charity. I have heard that overall it was something like £300,000; outstanding and astounding.
Peter, will need time to recover from his dreadful loss and the ravages of the ceaseless day and night attention he gave to Joan in her last years. However, he assures us he will not rest quietly with his memories and is determined to resume his shows. Any applause, he says, will be dedicated to Joan and we look forward to welcoming our own ‘Mr Dickens’ back to Honeywood when we reopen.
In the meantime I am sure you will wish to join your committee in sending Peter our love and best wishes.