SHE witnessed major milestones in the lives of hundreds of Portsmouth residents, and now tributes are being paid to the lady who ‘reigned over’ The Queen’s.
Joyce Paine, who has died, joined the team at The Queen’s Hotel in 1969 when she was 37 years old, having spent most of her working life in the catering industry.
She was restaurant manager there up until her retirement, aged 73, and in her time served the Queen herself, as well as foreign heads of state including ex-US president Bill Clinton.
Paying tribute to his mum, Russell Paine, 53, said: ‘She didn’t want to retire but I think with some reluctance the Queen’s decided it was time.
‘She ruled – reigned almost – the Queen’s Hotel restaurant in her time there.’
Joyce, who was 81 when she died on Saturday, was not just in charge of the food. As restaurant manager she oversaw the hotel’s functions, including hundreds of weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries.
She was so well respected that when dignitaries visited the city, she would be part of the team responsible for ensuring their stay ran smoothly.
Such was the esteem that Joyce was held in that when she returned to work at The Queen’s after a major operation to remove part of a lung, she was given a fanfare.
‘Over the course of 20 or so years, she had two major operations where part of each lung was removed. Unfortunately then a tumour came back.
‘The first operation was very major, and quite a large portion of lung was removed and she was off work for a very long time.
‘When she went back to work they had an oompah band for her.’
Joyce’s funeral service will be held at St Jude’s Church in Kent Road on Monday at 11am. It will be followed by a wake at the Queen’s Hotel.
‘It couldn’t not be at the Queen’s,’ Russell added.
‘They have been kind about it and think there’s a mutual respect between them and my mum.
‘We all used to work there as Saturday jobs and I can remember playing in some of the rooms in the hotel.’
Joyce’s husband Bill died in October 2012.
As well as Russell, she leaves daughter Susan Mitchell, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
There will be family flowers only at the funeral but donations can be made to Macmillan Cancer Support or Cancer Research UK in her memory.