Tributes flow for Joy Irvine

Warrnambool has lost one of its favourites.

Joy Irvine, who was well-known for her work with a Cambodian charity, the Warrnambool Eisteddfod and theatre group, died on Sunday aged 85.

Joy was born in Adelaide in 1931 and was the daughter of a Church of Christ minister. She moved to Warrnambool in 1961 with her trade teacher husband, Ron, and three young children. Her fourth child was born in Warrnambool.

Once her children had grown up, the couple moved to the Northern Territory and when her husband died suddenly in 1985 she took two years’ leave from her teaching job as an adult educator to work in China.

She returned to teach in Australia before retiring after a posting at Alice Springs.

Joy then worked at the University of Phnom Penh in Cambodia where she became involved with the Cambodia Trust and held numerous roles.

The charity named her as a patron - an honour she shares with The Reverend Desmond Tutu - and Joy has worked at the trust alongside Roland Joffe, the director of Academy Award-winning movies The Killing Fields and The Mission.

The trust, now renamed Exceed, operates clinics that fit artificial limbs and orthotic devices to people injured by land mines, accidents, disasters, illness and disease.

It also trains prosthetic and orthopaedic specialists, works for equal rights for people with disabilities and helps impoverished villages.

Joy made more than 30 trips to Cambodia over 20 years – the last visit was in September when she went to the graduation ceremony of an amputee she, and others in Warrnambool, had sponsored. They paid for his education and he is now a qualified prosthetist. 

Donations of more than $50,000 from Warrnambool over the years have helped her to buy wheelchairs and washing machines for three clinics as well as repair another clinic's leaky roof.

In an interview with The Standard in 2014, Joy said she had a simple life philosophy: "I've never planned anything I've done. Just let God lead."

As well as being a past president of the Warrnambool Eisteddfod, Joy was an active member of the East Warrnambool Rotary Club.

She is survived by her four children, 10 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.

The funeral will be held at Eastern Park in Warrnambool at 2pm on Friday.

Joy to the world: Charity worker Joy Irvine has died aged 85. She was well know for her work in Cambodia and the Warrnambool eisteddfod and theatre group.

Joy to the world: Charity worker Joy Irvine has died aged 85. She was well know for her work in Cambodia and the Warrnambool eisteddfod and theatre group.

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