Acle woman keeps her passion for lighthouses shining with new book

PUBLISHED: 06:30 05 November 2012

Joy Tubby with her new book detailing lighthouse accommodation.  Joy inside Happisburgh lighthouse.  Picture: Nick Butcher

Joy Tubby with her new book detailing lighthouse accommodation. Joy inside Happisburgh lighthouse. Picture: Nick Butcher

© Archant 2012

They have been the lights of her life since her early childhood days.

And Joy Tubby’s passion for lighthouses has dominated every important chapter of her life since.

She became engaged at one on a remote Hebridean reef and even got married half way up the tower of one in south Wales.

Now Joy, 45, is hoping to convert more people to the often dramatic splendour of lighthouses in a new, updated edition of her painstaking work, Lighthouse Accommodation Britain and Worldwide.

The book, written in her maiden name Joy Adcock, features more than 50 lighthouses - including three in Norfolk and one in Suffolk - where people can stay, either in the former lighthouse keeper’s cottage or in the tower itself.

The part-time estate agent, who has extensively revised the work she first published in 1999, predictably found her perfect match at an event organised by the Association of Lighthouse Keepers.

Patrick Tubby, 43, the hire fleet manager at Norfolk Broads Direct in Wroxham, had been a founder member of the Friends of Happisburgh Lighthouse who organised a campaign to save it from closure by Trinity House in 1988.

The lonely lighthouse is now the only one in the country operated and maintained by an independent trust of which Joy is the secretary and Patrick chairman.

The couple, who spend much of their free time there doing odd jobs and preparing for the regular public open days, dream of one day swapping their small terrace in Aldis Road, Acle, for a lighthouse.

“There are two or three on the market at the moment and we’ll buy one if our lottery numbers come up,” said Joy.

Meanwhile, practising what Joy preaches in her book - “Have fun and help to keep the light shining brightly” - the couple take regular holidays in lighthouses.

“Just last month we stayed at Bull Point lighthouse at Ilfacrombe in Devon,” said Patrick.

Joy said her passion for lighthouses - “It’s the history as well as the beautiful locations” - had begun as a nine-year-old when she visited South Stack lighthouse in Anglesey.

She said: “I can also recall visiting Start Point lighthouse in Devon aged 12 while on holiday in the nearby village of Strete. I remember being woken early one morning by the familiar moan of its foghorn.”

Her first stay in a lighthouse was in 1994 at Great Orme’s Head in Llandudno and since then she has stayed in a number of others, both in the UK and abroad.

“Patrick proposed to me on a remote reef west of Tyree in the Hebrides where the Skerryvore lighthouse is situated. I think he was planning to leave me there if I said no,” she said.

Joy planned their wedding at Nash Point Lighthouse near Cardiff - “the only lighthouse with a wedding licence” - and the couple even spent their honeymoon there.

Joy said: “Since 1998 all lighthouses have been automated and many of the cottages where the lighthouse keeper would have lived have been turned into holiday accommodation.

“The keepers may have gone, but may they be remembered, and may we keep this part of our maritime heritage alive.”

Lighthouse Accommodation Britain and worldwide, which has an image of iconic Happisburgh lighthouse on the cover, is available from Amazon at £7.95. It can also be bought via Joy’s website

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