BRITAIN’S First Lady of the Trumpet has died in Chichester.
Felpham resident Joan Hinde passed away at a Chichester nursing home aged 81.
Joan’s career in showbusiness spanned more than half a century. She worked with some of the biggest names in entertainment.
Legendary comedian Ken Dodd has been in touch with her husband, Kenneth, since her death last Thursday, to pass on his best wishes. The equally well-known Roy Hudd is another who has contacted him with his condolences.
Kenneth said: “Ken Dodd told me to keep my pecker up and to look after myself. He said everyone loved Joan and she was very talented and professional.”
Joan and Kenneth had been married for 49 years. He said: “She was irreplaceable. She was talented and admired by everybody that knew her.
“She was very well-loved by members of the entertainment world and she enjoyed their company as well.”
That was shown by her membership of the exclusive Grand Order of Lady Ratlings fundraising charity for 35 years.
Her standing in the world of live entertainment was also reflected by the Lifetime Achievement Award she received from the Music Hall Society of Great Britain in 2003. Performers such as Dame Vera Lynn and Sir Norman Wisdom were among the previous recipients.
Terry Kirtland, the chairman of the company which publishes Old Theatres magazine, said: “Joan’s death is a huge loss to the theatrical profession. She was somebody who was really special.
“Joan was a brilliant performer. She was just somebody who knew exactly what she was doing. There was nobody who could match her on the trumpet.”
Joan was born in Eckington in Derbyshire in October 1933. She was just six when her uncle, Harold Baker, who conducted two brass bands, invited her to a concert and told her she could have the pick of any instrument.
He brought out a cornet and she started with that. “It just seemed to come naturally,” she told Roy Hudd in an interview published in 2007.
A week later, she was playing I’ll Walk Beside You. She started playing publicly at one of her uncle’s band concerts two weeks later and delighted the audience.
When she was ten, the BBC’s Harry Mortimer heard her playing at a local steelworks.
A month later, she was on the Children’s Hour for her first radio broadcast. She had won 50 competitions by the age of 12.
“I was appearing on many radio programmes, including Variety Bandbox, Variety Fanfare, Saturday Night Out and Workers’ Playtime while I was still at school,” she said.
She was on tour with Elsie and Doris Waters two months after she left school at 15 – and loving every minute of it.
She said: “There could not have been a happier way to grow up.” By then, she had switched to the trumpet when a key fell off her cornet just before a live performance.
She never looked back. She appeared with the biggest names over half a century – from Ken Dodd for more than 50 years to Harry Secombe and from Max Bygraves to Tommy Trinder and Roy Hudd – at some of the most famous venues.
Vera Lynn, Benny Hill, Gracie Fields and Frankie Howard were other names with which she shared the billing.
Unusually, she concentrated on live shows rather than the growing medium of television and also toured British bases in places such as Cyprus, the Falkland Islands, Aden and Northern Ireland.
She and Kenneth, now aged 79, married in 1966, three years after they had met at Clacton where Joan was appearing at Butlin’s for the summer.
Kenneth became the head of entertainment of the Butlin’s empire. They had a daughter, Claire, and moved to Walsham Close in 1974 from Kent when the Butlin’s office in London closed.
Claire, 45, said: “I’m immensely proud of my mother. She was the only person I have ever known who never regretted a single day of her life. She did everything she wanted to do.”
Joan moved to the Marriott House Nursing Home in Chichester about 15 months ago. She had carried on performing during two bouts of bowel cancer, but a brain tumour proved fatal.
She is survived by her husband Kenneth and daughter Claire. A funeral will be held on February 6 at Chichester Crematorium.