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Lives Remembered - Jocelin Black

Jocelin Black, teacher, poet, political and social activist.
March 16th 1927 to March 2nd 2023.

Jocelin Black passed away peacefully a few days before her 96th birthday. A great soul has left us.

There are many in the Calder Valley who would have met her as a teacher at the primary school in Mytholmroyd during the 70's and 80's. Her interests were many and diverse. As a young woman she climbed the Matterhorn in 1947. She established two new climbing routes up Bowfell Buttress in the Lake District.

After her beloved husband Alan's death in 1971 she raised her daughter Jane and son Andrew whilst being a single parent. She was an accomplished pianist, an aficionado of opera and Scottish dancing, enjoyed painting, dabbled in pottery making, but most of all loved writing. She was never without pen and paper, wrote a daily diary and streams of letters to her many friends. She wrote many poems and was well known in poetry and creative writing circles in the Hebden area.

She travelled extensively during her life with visits to Australia, Canada, Russia and much of Europe. When Jane moved to Portugal she made frequent long visits there and fell in love with the country and its culture.

In later life she became a Quaker. Here she made many like minded friends and fulfilled the spiritual side of her life. The Sunday meetings were an important focus of her week and the support of the Quaker community as her health declined was a great comfort to her.

But more than anything Jocelin was a fierce opponent of any injustice, iniquity or inequality that she saw. She wrote countless letters to prisoners of conscience via Amnesty International. She contributed untold amounts to any charity that caught her eye. She went on innumerable marches to try and stop whatever needed stopping.

She got arrested for trying to enter the RAF base at Menwith Hill by attacking the fence with a pencil sharpener (she had lent her wire cutters to a fellow protester). The coffee mornings she had at the Innovation cafe in Hebden were well known for heated political discourse and were dubbed The Local Parliament. Her activism was endless and put many of us to shame.

She will be greatly missed by her daughter and son, her four grandsons and seven great grandchildren, her extended family and all her friends. There will be a tear in the eye of many people whose life she touched. She was an inspiration to us all.

From Joe Black

Friday, 3 March 2023

From Graham Ramsden
Friday, 3 March 2023

Met up with Jocelin over the years at Poetry classes at Hope Sreet Chapel in Hebden Bridge. She was very observant and great fun to write alongside. I remember her poem about the injustice of the arrest of The Naked Rambler in the town. We shall miss her.

From  Jill Mary Chadwick
Saturday, 4 March 2023

I first met Jocelin when working in the Bear Bookshop on Water St in Tod around 1980. Started by a group of local hippies as a collective providing community services like pregnancy testing, we connected. Richard's fresh local produce went bust so Joc's daughter, Jane & friend started up selling organic supplies - so successfully this soon moved to Rochdale Rd old Co-op shop. By then I was nursing a baby and moved to the tops but our paths often coincided over the years, both here and in Portugal.   

Joc was always a pleasure to see with her beaming warm smile and kind lively chatter. We shared many similar interests including local art & craft groups, women's health issues and pacifist actions like Greenham & Menwith Hill. Reconnecting through  Hebden Quaker Meeting on my return to the valley twenty years ago, Joc became my supportive elder - mainly comprising chatty postcards from Portugal or pub lunches in town after meeting! 

Jocelin was one of the most openly kind people I've ever met, always looking for ways to share constructively on whatever frets. I really appreciated her speaking truth with genuine honesty. Particularly as her memory loss grew as an obstacle, Joc would cheerfully own her frustration from such difficulties. Even after need to move her cosy canal-side home into town flat, it was always such a beautiful haven to visit, full of Joc's artistic creations. I saw her several times in Waterside and just sitting in calming presence felt deeply connected. She has been much in my mind and heart, hopefully long staying there.    

From Jane Black
Thursday, 13 April 2023

There will be a Quaker celebration of Jocelin's life at Hebden Bridge Town Hall on Friday 21st April from 1:45pm. 

All are welcome to attend. It was her request for everyone to wear colourful clothing. 

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