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 September 2007.
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 Essex University . 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 Roy 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.