Joan Camier


From Rye’s Own April 2010

Motor Cycles and Movie Films were her Passion

1925 – 2010

By Jim Hollands

It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of Joan Camier. I spoke to her last outside Magdala House in 2008 before she moved to Nothiam to live with, and be looked after, by her son Michael and his wife Angela.

We recalled the halcyon days in of Sixties when, as members of the Rye Movie Society (know affectionately as the Cine Club), we won the East Sussex Film Competition three years on the trot. We talked of Bill Beeson, the dentist, who played Footstep Snr. in the societies first award winning effort ‘Footstep & Son’, and of David Smeed as a kilted 007 in ‘Sporran Affairs’.

Joan at the Rye & District Movie Society Award Night
Joan at the Rye & District Movie Society Award Night

Much of the success of the Society stemmed directly from Joan, her enthusiasm and organising ability knew no bounds and the movie makers of Rye took on the established giants from Hastings, Battle, Eastbourne and Bexhill, winning ‘Oscar’ after ‘Oscar’ in 1964,65 & 66.

Joan, with husband Bert Camier moved to Rye at the end of the War. Joan had served as a driver in the armed forces in France and Belgium. The couple built up a successful motor-cycle business at Wish Ward and became very popular in the town. Joan became a member of the Rye Club and was an active force in the Rye British Legion.

Bert raced with his brother at motor cycle meets all over Sussex & Kent, notably at Folkestone Heights, where they had many successes.

They were forced to turn their business into a motor cycle and cycle shop when, the massive post war boom in motor cycling was ended by the government for ‘safety reasons’ by stepping up tax on the powerful machines to prohibitive prices.

After Bert’s death in 1992, Joan ran the business with son Michael for a while until her retirement the following year when the shop closed.

Joan Camier became even more involved with town affairs and was elected onto Rye Town Council in 1987 and became a very active member. For four years she was Deputy Mayor and was Mayor elect when in 1994 she moved to Tenterden to be near her family.

They say that the sound of ‘Rye Church bells will draw you further than gunpowder can blow you”, and so it was with Joan. After a short spell in Tenterden she returned to the town she loved and lived at Magdala House until illness in 2008 dictated a move to Northiam to be cared for by her son and daughter in law.

Joan Camier died in February. Her service to her Country and to Rye was exemplary.

Michael, Angela and grandchildren Rachael and Richard will miss her terribly as will so many in Rye who were captivated by her enthusiasm, level headedness and that warm, warm smile.