Wartime veteran’s salute for Remembrance

A wartime Wren silhouette outside Grantham’s Guildhall has prompted poignant memories for 100-year-old military veteran Joan Briggs.

Joan, named in the display for her WW2 naval service, came with her family to see the art installation - with an immaculate salute as her personal Remembrance tribute.

The poppy cascades and silhouettes, commissioned by South Kesteven District Council, invited Grantham College art and design students to research elements of wartime heritage for Remembrance.

Students found Joan’s links with Grantham and her husband Ron’s service as both Mayor of Grantham and a past SKDC chairman.

She said:  “It’s been really moving to come and see this display and the fact that my name is included is just amazing.  It’s absolutely superb.

“The poppy cascades are just beautiful.  There has never been anything like it in Grantham in the past. It made me want to stand to attention and salute.”

Cllr Rhea Rayside, Cabinet Member for People and Communities said: “What an incredible lady Joan is. I am delighted that our display meant so much to her at a time of Remembrance when we need to recognise the commitment and sacrifice of so many people like her.”

Joan, who lives in Grantham, served on HMS Valkyrie in Douglas near her home on the Isle of Man, with her immobile status meaning that she could live at home and be on naval duty during the day.

The veteran, who celebrated her 100th birthday in the summer, has written her memoirs for the Manx Museum in Douglas, the national museum of the Isle of Man.

The art installation was co-ordinated by Grantham Arts.

WW2 Navy veteran Joan Briggs with a Remembrance salute.

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