We were saddened when we received a call to say that one of our supporters, Joyce Hayes, had passed away.

Joyce had never been to the Orpheus Centre, but had heard about the work we do and of course about our wonderful students. We were soon to discover just how impressed she was by our charity and what we do, in the form of a very generous donation left in her will.

A bit more about Joyce

Joyce was born in Bolton 1921. She spent most of her life in the world of education, training as a primary school teacher from 1939-1941, the outbreak of World War II.  She obtained high grades in all subjects including ‘Principles and Practice of Teaching’ and enjoyed a rapid rise in her teaching career. She even co-authored a book with Mrs H M E Barber "Exploring the Physical World with Children of 5 to 9" which was designed to help teachers of this age group who had fairly limited scientific training. 

“Joyce was the eldest of four children and when her father had an early death when she was a young teacher, she became the main provider for the family.  As a consequence, she never married even though it had been contemplated.  She had, however, a great influence on the upbringing of the two daughters of the man that she loved her entire life.  She maintained close contact with them “until the end of her days” says close friend, Maureen.

It was her passion for education and music that made her a special and well respected person. She had always loved music and when watching Sir Richard Stilgoe on the television show Nationwide, she became quite a fan of his.


Joyce retired to Eastbourne still enjoying her music.  She kept up to date with technology:  at 91 years of age she bought an Apple i-pad which enabled her to see from her armchair film and television excerpts of her idols for example Maria Callas, Luciano Pavrotti, Placido Domingo and yes, Sir Richard Stilgoe.


When Joyce started to think about making her will, her thoughts turned again to Sir Richard. Making a will often leads you to think of the past and those things that are important to you that stand out the most. It’s quite often lifelong passions, and for Joyce her mind turned again to music and education.

Writing a will also makes you think of the future and to how you want to be remembered. Knowing that your legacy will remain after you pass away, is a comforting feeling. And for Joyce, feeling that she could continue to make a difference to the lives of young adults through the arts, was important to her.

Her friend Maureen said that Joyce felt the Orpheus Centre was so important, that she wanted to donate some money to us in her will – truly the ultimate gift.

Joyce’s gift to the Students of Orpheus

Any gift in a will, however big or small, makes such a difference to our work.

Joyce was incredibly generous and was fortunate in being able to leave Orpheus a most wonderful gift of just over £387,000 and for that we are truly thankful.

Her gift will allow our students the opportunity to do wonderful things – to learn though music and the performing arts. To go out and spread the transformative power of music with the wider world.

This gift will not only help our current students, but also students long into the future.

Throughout her life, Joyce travelled the world to develop her knowledge of educational practices. Her love of music saw her going to the opera, concerts, musicals and festivals at every opportunity.  She shared her love with all who came into contact with her and there are many who thank her for introducing them to a wider world of music.  Through the gift in her will, that passion is now also shared with our students and the whole Orpheus community.

We have set aside £50,000 for music lessons and have appointed a Musician in Residence to provide individual music lessons to several of our students.

We are also renaming one of our studios, primarily used for music and dance, the ‘Hayes Studio’ in her memory; a lasting tribute to an amazing lady both in life and death.

JOYCE YVONNE HAYES

31 January 1921 - 31 September 2017

If you would like to support the future of Orpheus by leaving a gift in your will then please visit our gifts in wills section of our website, or call and ask for Sarah Greenwood, our legacy fundraiser on 01883 744664.

Be a part of our legacy by leaving a gift in you will.