Attention: You are using an outdated browser, device or you do not have the latest version of JavaScript downloaded and so this website may not work as expected. Please download the latest software or switch device to avoid further issues.

News > Sidcotians Connect > Isabel JOYCE Foster (née Gwyn),

Isabel JOYCE Foster (née Gwyn),

Read about the life of Isabel JOYCE Foster (née Gwyn)
Joyce sitting on front left
Joyce sitting on front left

Isabel JOYCE Foster (née Gwyn), died on 22nd August 2020

Joyce, who in later life styled herself Jo, attended Sidcot from 1936-41. She was very happy there, finding that the ethos of the school suited her well and she enjoyed the coeducational aspect. Joyce excelled at sport and drama – she could do different accents with ease – and she used to tell her family that the pupils ate fresh produce which they all helped to grow in the school grounds. Her own children hung onto her every word as Joyce recounted tales of high jinks at the school. One involved a stolen key and a late night party in the swimming pool which got busted by the staff – someone had sneaked!

Joyce remained in life-long contact with school friends from Sidcot and she attended several reunions at the school with her husband where they had a wonderful time.

Joyce finished her education at Cheltenham Ladies’ College which she found much more restrictive, then at 18 she progressed to the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford to train as a nurse. Quick to learn, naturally caring and gregarious, she thrived there too. A profound sadness in 1943, which lasted throughout her life, was the death of her elder brother at the battle of Monte Cassino. In 1948 she met Hugh Foster, a history undergraduate at Merton College who had served in the Navy throughout the war. Their whirlwind romance led to marriage within five months.

Joyce and Hugh first lived in Trull, Somerset, then in Durham and Cheltenham, following Hugh’s teaching posts. They had four children, John, Kerry, Bill and Tim and eventually nine grandchildren.

Joyce, (Jo by her Cheltenham days) involved herself enthusiastically as a housemaster’s wife and in many voluntary jobs. When the family were older she returned to nursing as school nurse at Cheltenham Ladies’ College. Subsequently she started the nurse bank at Cheltenham General Hospital and was nursing Sister there in Outpatients until her retirement.

Jo’s love of drama, originating from her years at Sidcot, led her to direct and produce (with Hugh) many plays at Cheltenham College Junior School and she also loved acting in Staff plays at the Senior. Jo could quote Dickens at will and knew by heart many of Hilaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tales. Jo read voraciously, ordering books from the library as soon as she had seen a favourable review. She wrote hundreds of letters to support family and friends and she kept diaries assiduously throughout her long life. She meticulously planned holidays at home and abroad. Jo and Hugh positively sparkled at the many reunions of the large Foster family and indeed at all social events.

Jo died peacefully at home, surrounded by her family, five years after her beloved Hugh and having lived to see her 96th birthday and her 72nd wedding anniversary. For her funeral, she selected the poem by the Quaker William Penn which begins, “We give back to you, Oh God, those whom you gave to us”.

Kerry Conn (née Foster)

Similar stories

Chris and Janice Bateman are two extraordinary individuals. Every moment I can think of with them is cherished. Today, (27 years on) — reminiscing the exceptionalism of a man I can… More...

Dymond Speech Competition Summer 2021

The Dymond Speech competition was established in 1911 by a descendant of Henry Dymond, a pupil at the School from 1810 -… More...

Winscombe Station

Read Debbie Merrick (nee Brayshaw) Sidcot Memories - Debbie was at Sidcot from 1957 to 1964, were you at Sidcot then too… More...

Do you remember Donne Marshal Teacher at Sidcot in 1970s and 1980s More...


Sidcot Singers' performance of 'Happy' by Pharrell Williams More...

Have your say

This website is powered by