Joan Gifford, who started her folk guitar
classes in Wivenhoe in 1991 under the umbrella of Grey Friars is
now, one might say, a freelance.
At present she is conducting two Improvers classes, and is
hoping for recruits to her Beginners class — which starts in
Years ago, when Joan was an art student, she found
that playing guitar was a whole lot more convenient than having to lug a
cumbersome piano from one student digs to another.
Later, when teaching art in the comprehensive schools of Crawley in
Sussex, she began a little folk club at one of the schools, and it was
such a success that more and more of the children joined and wanted to
learn guitar chords and play guitar, so that Joan made a suggestion that
she might teach guitar as a formal subject.
The schools took her up on this, and she soon had a rota of guitar
classes in the various schools — and began to expand into teaching the
teachers and into adult education.
She and her husband Roy bought their house in
Wivenhoe when their eldest daughter was at
. When they visited here for
holidays, they thought Wivenhoe was lovely, and "people said hullo to
you even when they didn't know you, so I said to
let's retire here, and that was it".
Very soon, Joan had started up the Wivenhoe Folk Club along with
the late John Rayner, and as everyone knows, this has become an
established and deservedly popular Wivenhoe institution.