A MEMORIAL has been unveiled at an activities centre in memory of a community stalwart who helped set up the venue.
Joan Levitt MBE passed away in March last year aged 87. During her 57 years in Leek, Joan had helped to champion many community initiatives, as well as served on local councils.
One of those initiatives, Norton House in Fynney Street, the home of Leek's U3A, has been honouring her memory by placing both an internal and an external instalment to commemorate Joan.
Joan's children Sally and Tom travelled to Leek to attend the commemorative event, which saw Leek Mayor John Fisher unveil a memorial photograph of Joan, chosen by her family, which has been put up permanently in one of the Norton House rooms. A commemorative plaque in Joan's memory has also been put in the gardens of Norton House alongside a Magnolia Stellata shrub.
Mr Fisher said: "It was Joan's intervention that helped secure this building as a home for the U3A.
“Joan was an inspiration to all who knew her."
Joan's daughter Sally said: "She has got a rather wry smile in the photograph, it was taken when we were in a hotel in Edinburgh.
“ She could not work out why we wanted to take her picture."
Sally further explained that Joan's signature, which is also in the frame of the commemorative picture, was taken from an essay Joan wrote when she was a student.
Tom expressed his pride about his mother's achievements over the years.
He added: "She had a remarkable way of doing things and encouraging others to do things."
Joan was a member of the Labour Party and served on Leek Urban District Council and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council. She re-energised Norton House centre for older people, established and coordinated the University of the Third Age from there and eventually became its Life President. She also helped to acquire Bank House in Leek as a home for Staffordshire Moorlands Community and Voluntary Services and the Citizen's Advice Bureau.
She chaired the governing bodies at both Leek High School and Horton Lodge Special School, and was also on the governing body at Staffordshire Polytechnic. She was a visitor at Werrington Detention Centre, co-opted member of Staffordshire Education Committee and chairman of BBC Radio Stoke Listeners' Council.
Other inspiring projects that Joan helped with included the opening of the James Brindley Water Mill as a tourist attraction in 1971, and the opening of the New Vic Theatre in 1986.
In 1989 Keele University made Joan an Honorary Master of Arts and in 2004 she received an MBE for her community service.