Mission to reunite sampler with mysterious ‘Sylvia’

The sampler made by Sylvia for Joan

The sampler made by Sylvia for Joan

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A widower is looking to the people of Preston to help him reunite a special memento of his late wife’s with its creator.

Chris Urlwin’s wife, Joan, nee Clarkson, grew up in Preston, living firstly at Beacon Close, and then at Tulketh Brow.

Chris Urlwin's wife, Joan, nee Clarkson

Chris Urlwin's wife, Joan, nee Clarkson

After attending Park High School, having passed the School Certificate, she started to train as a nursery nurse, spending some time between 1935 and 1939 at a nursery near Cripplegate as a trainee.

Chris said: “While Joan was working there a girl called Sylvia made a sampler for Joan, and she kept it with her for all those years, even when she joined the ATS at the outbreak of the war, and spent her time at an anti-aircraft battery near Cardiff docks.”

Chris and Joan married in 1981, in his home town of Watford and when Joan died aged 95 in October 2014, Chris found the sampler with her private documents.

Chris said: “Joan often spoke warmly of her girlhood in Preston, mentioning the boys she knew, - with her tall slim figure, and big smile, I would imagine she was very popular - , particularly Harry Moseley, and ‘Pop’ Seed, along with others whose names I cannot recall.

If there is anyone who remembers Joan from their youth still surviving, it would be nice to be able to be in touch.

“Through all many changes of location including the Isle of Wight, a spell with the WRVS in Germany, Hertfordshire, Hampshire, and eventually, Lincolnshire, she kept the sampler with her so it must have meant an awful lot to her.

“If there is anyone who remembers Joan from their youth still surviving, it would be nice to be able to be in touch.”

Chris will be back in Preston in October, and hopes to meet the elusive Sylvia.

If you know who Sylvia is contact Rachel Hurst on 01772 838107.