Tributes were paid to Joyce Cann, president of the Dartmoor Folk Festival and wife of the event founder, the late Bob Cann, at her funeral service held at St Andrew's Church in South Tawton.
Joyce was born in the parish of South Zeal, where she spent much of her life. She left school in 1939 when she was 14, at around the same time as the outbreak of the Second World War. This meant that she had to stay at home and help with the running of the home and farm. After the war ended, Joyce went to a Six Penny Hop at Whiddon Down Village Hall, and it was there that she met a young man called Robert Cann (Bob) and they later married and had two children, Shirley and Wendy, Bob working as a farm manager at Darnaford, Longdown. They were blessed with two grandchildren, Mark and Jane, and later four great grandchildren, Thomas, Charlie, Laura and Emilia.
Folk music was a big part of Joyce’s life. In the late 1970’s, Bob had the idea that he would like to start his own folk festival to help revive and preserve the musical and dance traditions of Dartmoor. Joyce was, of course, very supportive of this idea, and the first folk festival took place in 1978 at Wood Country House. Joyce supported Bob in establishing the event by booking artists and helping in many ways. When Bob was awarded the B.E.M. for services to folk music, he particularly thanked Joyce for her support.
Joyce took great pride in that her family and friends continued to run the Dartmoor Folk Festival after Bob's death in 1990 and that the Dartmoor Pixie Band has also continued so successfully with Mark, their grandson, taking the lead with his wife, Sarah, taking over the calling. She took an active role on the festival committee, taking over from Bob as President when he died.
2015 was a great year for Joyce; she celebrated her 90th birthday with a party for more than 100 guests who were entertained by the Dartmoor Pixie Band and the Kelly Quarry Blasters.
Joyce died with her family by her side on 19 January 2016. Her grandchildren, other family members and friends continue the Dartmoor Pixie Band and the Dartmoor Folk Festival and she has contributed in no small way to leaving a wonderful and unique musical legacy.