Tributes paid to a community champion

By Ian Dipple Friday 21 December 2012 Updated: 21/12 13:06

A FORMER mayor of Redditch who helped found a housing association to support single parent families in the borough has died.

Joan Tyers, who up until recently had been living at Terryspring Court in Smallwood, passed away last Wednesday (December 12) in the Alexandra Hospital after suffering a stroke. She was 94.

Although her actual first name was Kathleen she was always known as Joan and was a prominent campaigner and community figure, having served on the borough council as a Labour councillor from 1986 to 1998.

She was born in the Nags Head pub in Studley and although she grew up in Sheffield she returned to Redditch with her family when she was in her mid-teens and lived in the area for the remainder of her life. She married Cecil Tyers and they had three children who survive her, Adrienne, Andrew and Lizzy.

Her son Andrew told the Standard Mrs Tyers devoted herself to serving the community and her Quaker faith following the death of his father in 1976.

“She was a bit of a campaigner, she was always on the lookout for a good cause to fight for. She was quite feisty but very friendly, a life and soul of the party type of person,” he said.

“Her community work meant a lot to her. She really threw herself into it after dad died. She got involved in politics and that and her Quakerism were her two main driving forces.”

Her achievements included joining with other Quakers to set-up Redditch Friends Housing Association in 1973 which borrowed money from Redditch council and the Housing Corporation to build a block of flats in Oxhill Close, Matchborough West. She became chairman in 1995 before stepping down in 2006 to become life president.

In 1990 Mrs Tyers had the honour of becoming Redditch’s first citizen.

Madge Tillsley MBE served as Mrs Tyers’ deputy during her mayoral year and said she had fond memories of it.

“I remember the night I took over from her as Mayor and she wanted to put the chain around my neck but she was smaller than me so had to stand on tiptoe to do it - we had a great time together as a team,” she said.

“She was a lovely lady and a good councillor who cared about the people and did a lot for the community.”

There was a minute’s silence in tribute to Mrs Tyers at Tuesday’s executive committee meeting.

Council leader Bill Hartnett said: “Joan was a very good councillor, very loyal and a calming influence. She was very measured, as well as always being one for correcting officers’ grammar.”

Mrs Tyers’ funeral takes place on December 27 at 12pm at St Michaels and All Angels in Cofton Hackett where she will be buried with her husband.

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