£30k is left to library

Coun Val Tyler with Lorraine Bewick, Senior Library Assistant, and Joyce Jackman, chair of the Northumberland and Durham Family History Society.
Coun Val Tyler with Lorraine Bewick, Senior Library Assistant, and Joyce Jackman, chair of the Northumberland and Durham Family History Society.
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Library staff have been left gobsmacked after being left £30,000.

Joyce Wakenshaw was a familiar face at Blyth Library, spending many hours using their archives to research her family history.

And Joyce, who rose to prominence as the head of a United Nations school in Geneva, left £30,250 to the library in her Will after she passed away in July 2014, at the age of 86.

The money will be used to create a state-of-the-art family history suite at the library.

Councillor Val Tyler, cabinet member for arts, leisure and culture, said: “The library has obviously held a special place in Joyce’s heart. She was a distinguished headteacher who was passionate about education, loved children, and devoted a lot of her spare time to researching her family history and working with local history groups as well.”

“The money will be used to remodel part of the library as a family history suite, complete with a new digital archive and equipment, a wealth of new resources, and a modern look and feel.

“None of this would have been possible without Joyce’s incredible gesture and the suite will carry her name.”

The money is being administered by the Northumberland and Durham Family History Society, of which Joyce was a member.

Joyce Jackman, chair of the society, said: “It was a huge surprise when we found out about the money.

“It’s an incredible gesture and says a lot about the kind of person Joyce was. We’re just so pleased that we are able to carry out her wishes.

“Joyce was a long-time member of the society and the money helps to keep the research alive. Family history always converges on local history as well.

“This carries on her memory and creates a space that library users can take a lot of pleasure from.”