Canvey Island WRVS Luncheon Club

From 1980

The WVS (Womens Voluntary Service) renamed WRVS (Womens Royal Voluntary Service) in 1966, was founded to help civilians during WW2 with evacuations, emergency feeding and care and support. By the end of the war a million volunteers had been recruited.

Today the WRVS continues its work to help the population, not only in times of difficulties they are also a major service provider to the elderly. The WRVS provide them with clubs and meals on wheels, helping them to keep their independence and dignity.

1981. Joan Lock at the first anniversary of the opening of the club at the Baptist Hall.

Queen Elizabeth (The late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother) along with the then Queen Mother, Queen Mary became joint patrons of the WVS when it was founded. Later Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother became the President. She continued as President until her death in 2002 when her daughter Queen Elizabeth II became the patron.

The WVS from Chelmsford organised teams of workers passing out food, hot drinks and warm clothes to the refugees of the 1953 Floods.

Canvey’s WRVS Leisure Club for Elderly and Handicapped was started in the Baptist Church Hall in April 1980 later additional days were needed and the hall in Sydervelt Road was also used. The Organiser was Joan Lock who joined the WRVS a few years earlier. Joan was awarded a medal for 27 years of service by the WRVS in 2004 and finally retired in 2008 due to ill health.

1987. Joan Lock on the left looks on as Dame Barbara Shenfield cuts the cake at the opening of the new hall in Poplar Road, Canvey. To the right of Dame Barbara is Pat Windsor who is the Castle Point WRVS Manager

In 1987 a hall was purpose built in Poplar Road and this has been used ever since except for a year in 2004 after the building was gutted by fire. The hall was opened by the late Dame Barbara Shenfield who was Chair of the WRVS from 1981-1988. She was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1986 for her work with the WRVS.

Today, due to continuous vandal attacks high fences have had to be erected around the hall. Instead of being able to look out onto the King George’s Playing Fields it feels a little like being behind bars.

The following pictures are mostly from before the new building and are from the only album to survive the fire.

I would like to thank Barbara Everett (the current Project Manager) and the WRVS for allowing us to publish them.

Comments about this page

  • This is Clacton. The large hotel seen in the background is on the corner of Pier Avenue and the Esplanade. It fell into disrepair and a major refubishment is just happening. the gardens are still in bloom every summer.

    By Maureen Buckmaster (26/08/2008)
  • good

    By maddie (07/12/2008)
  • I am sorry to have to report that Joan Lock well known for running Canvey’s WRVS Luncheon Club for many years passed away today. RIP

    By Janet Penn (21/08/2014)
  • On the left is Flo Matthews nee Jennings, Lin’s aunt

    By michael swanson (25/08/2014)
  • Front row on left Flo Matthews nee Jennings; behind wheelchair Vi Foulger, Back row on right Frank Gargrave, St John Ambulance

    By michael swanson (25/08/2014)
  • I just found this website and I love it!
    My mum was Joan Lock. She loved her years involved with the WRVS. I have many of her photos from over the years that I’d be happy too share.
    I was born in the village, Canvey in 1960. I now live in the USA but Canvey is always my home!

    By Denise Lock Taylor (30/03/2020)
  • Lovely to hear from you Denise. I worked with Joan for many years and she helped me through a very difficult time. We at the archive would love it if you are able to share some photos on the site. If you have any problems uploading direct to the site you can contact me direct on so I can help you.

    By Janet Penn (30/03/2020)

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