Family re-Joyces as grandma gets to 100

PUBLISHED: 16:10 30 August 2007 | UPDATED: 21:48 29 May 2010

Joyce Horsfield with her daughter Janet – Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

Joyce Horsfield with her daughter Janet - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

A DESCENDENT of one of England s greatest actors and playwrights celebrates her centenary this Sunday. Joyce Horsfield, from Bings Hall Residential Home in Felsted, is a direct descendant of Shakespearian actor Charles Macklin, famed for playing Shylock i

A DESCENDENT of one of England's greatest actors and playwrights celebrates her centenary this Sunday.

Joyce Horsfield, from Bings Hall Residential Home in Felsted, is a direct descendant of Shakespearian actor Charles Macklin, famed for playing Shylock in The Merchant of Venice during the 18th century. Macklin Street in Drury Lane, London is named after him.

Joyce joked: "He was one of the most famous actors of his time, and is buried in the Actors' Church in Covent Garden, but my father said he was a wicked reprobate."

It is a joy of performing that has been passed down through the centuries as Joyce has spent most of her life teaching and performing classical piano pieces.

Born Joyce Macklin in Buntingford, Joyce went to school in Windsor and studied piano at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

She moved to Bengeo in 1936 when she set up an independent PNEU School with her sister, Marion.

"It's a special sort of school where each PNEU school uses the same text books," explained Joyce.

"This means that if you move house, no matter where, even India, you will still be learning from the same books so the disruption to your learning is minimal."

During the war years she continued to teach at the school, playing piano in Bengeo and Hertford during the evenings to raise money for the war effort.

"I used to hold concerts in my front room playing Bach and Schubert," recounted Joyce, "We sometimes had 60 people in there at one time."

Also in the evenings, Joyce and her sister took it in turns to help care for bomb victims at Hertford hospital.

She explained that the German bombers would drop their loads on any light they could see if they were unable to find their real targets.

This meant that many of the wounded came from the villages close to the city.

In 1942 she married teacher John Horsfield in Bengeo Church. They had one daughter, Janet, 10 years later.

She continued to teach piano until she was 94-years-old. One of her former students is now a doctor of music at the University of Sydneyin Australia.

"I love classical music," said Joyce. "I don't play it now because I'm a bit deaf and it all sounds out of tune, but I love Schubert, Bach, Mozart and Dvorak. I don't like the modern stuff. It's got too many drums in it."

Joyce, who moved to her Felsted home in 1994, will be celebrating her birthday on Sunday with a surprise party with close family including daughter Janet, son-in-law, Kevin, grandchildren Nathan, 18, Bryony, 16, and Georgia, 13, and other residents of Bings Hall.

"I know they've planned a party for me," said Joyce. "I don't mind surprises, it just depends on what kind of surprise it is.

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