My aunt Joyce Fletcher, who has died aged 88, was an educationist who taught in Britain and Nigeria, where she worked on a series of maths books for primary schools, including teacher guides and workbooks, which became widely used. A couple of years ago when she was in hospital, one of the nurses, Nigerian by birth, saw a textbook my aunt had written among her possessions and said, “I learned maths with that book!”
Known to everyone as Joy, she was born in Birmingham along with her twin sister, Sheila. Her father, Arthur Fletcher, was an electrical engineer; her mother, Winifred, nee Russell, had been a nursery nurse before she had children.
Joy was evacuated to Kington, Herefordshire, and then attended King Edward VI high school for girls in Birmingham. She went to Bedford College in London, graduating in mathematics in 1950. She followed this with teacher training in Cambridge and spells of teaching in Liverpool and Welwyn Garden City, where she formed lifelong friendships.
She then went to Nigeria, where she became involved with primary education, teaching teachers at Wesley College, Ibadan. She is easy to spot in the staff picture as the only white person and the only woman.
Unfortunately she became ill in Nigeria and had to leave in 1976. The students put together a document for her including the words “Her name is JOY and her lessons are joyful”. Although she never returned to Nigeria, she kept in touch with many friends from that time and followed events there with interest.
With characteristic determination she took on the challenge of building a new career in the UK. She started as a maths adviser in Manchester then moved to Canterbury and ended her career guiding primary school teachers at Nene College in Northampton, working part-time long past retirement age.
In the last couple of years she was largely paralysed by a stroke but kept her sense of humour to the end. One of her carers, who knew she was a lifelong teetotaller, brought her apple juice, presenting it to her with the words, “I’m sorry Joy, we were out of apple juice so I brought you white wine.” There was a momentary flicker of annoyance followed by a huge grin when she appreciated the joke.
Joy is survived by her sister, Sheila, and by her four nephews and her niece.