Tributes paid to ‘larger than life’ former Fareham councillor

GREAT CHARACTER Cllr Joan Eastman on the day she received her special commemorative plaques from the Mayor of Fareham Cllr Lt Cdr Leslie Keeble
GREAT CHARACTER Cllr Joan Eastman on the day she received her special commemorative plaques from the Mayor of Fareham Cllr Lt Cdr Leslie Keeble

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TOUCHING tributes have been paid to a former councillor and Scout leader at a special memorial service.

The service was held at St Mary’s Church, inside Portchester Castle, and saw scores of people attend in tribute to Joan Eastman, who died, aged 80, last month.

Joan’s godson Christopher Cooper, 40, from Bishop’s Waltham, said: ‘If I was to sum AJ (Auntie Joan) up, it would be her love of life. She would be happily ordering a pint at the bar wearing the brightest of colours.’

Joan’s great nephew Michael Stacey. 29, from Portchester, spoke at the service, which Joan wanted to make a happy affair.

He said: ‘Joan was known to me as GBAJ – I like to think it stood for my great beautiful Aunt Joan, not great big Aunty Joan as some called her.

‘Joan’s thirst for life and travelling will always have a lasting impression on me. I’ve seen her comfortable at the most lavish and impressive dinners and then the next day happy tucking into a KFC bargain bucket.

‘My great beautiful Auntie Joan is gone but will not be forgotten.’

Caryl Gregory, from 3rd Portchester Scouts, said: ‘Joan did so much for scouting in the area and was much loved by the scouting community. She was a lady who knew how to get people to do things. She will be missed.’

As well as being influential in the world of Scouting, Joan was elected as a Liberal Democrat councillor to the former Portchester Central ward in May 1995, which she represented until 2002, when the ward was absorbed into the new Portchester East.

Most recently, she worked on the leisure and community review panel and throughout her period in office she served on the leisure committee.

Many current councillors attended Joan’s memorial service and hailed her as an ‘inspirational’ councillor.

Lib Dem Cllr Jim Forrest said: ‘Joan was a great mentor to new councillors, and to both me and my colleague Katrina Trott. It was a great learning experience to work with her. She knew all the ins and outs. She was easily the most inspirational councillor.’

Lib Dem Cllr Katrina Trott said: ‘Joan was a larger-than-life character and fesity, too. She was amazing.’

Former mayor and Tory Cllr Leslie Keeble said: ‘Even though she was Lib Dem, I got on with her very well. She was very jovial. We used to talk about politics but also about caravanning – we would reminisce about her travels. She was great and a very good councillor.’