A special evening was held at Edmond’s in Cap d’Ail on Tuesday in memory of JoAnn Keable, the founder of the Beaverbrook Circle. Many members of the British Association of Monaco also attended.

JoAnn was born in January 1930 in Poplar, East London – a true cockney as the Bow Bells chimed at the time of her birth. Her local pedigree was impeccable. Her grandmother had founded the Salvation Army with Sir Gordon Booth and ran the soup kitchens in the East End throughout the two world wars.

JoAnn won a scholarship at 11 to Windsor Grammar School where after graduating at 16 found her first job in the bookshop in Eton high street. She met her husband Leonard there and went on with him to run a very successful bookmaker’s business where she became known as ´Miss Racing,’ the first lady bookmaker in England.

She wrote a weekly column for the Daily Mail and became a well known celebrity of her day due to her brains, beauty and charisma. She was a natural entrepreneur and went on to own three hotels with her husband Leonard before retiring to Monaco in 1988.

She was awarded the Freeman of the City of London in 1987 for her services to charity.

JoAnn’s daughter Sarah said that JoAnn was a wonderful mother and grandmother. She had elegance, humour and her own certain style, patient alike in prosperity and adversity and meeting the joys and vicissitudes of life with equanimity and endurance, she was always cheerful, friendly, courteous and interested in people.

But above all JoAnn will be remembered for her ability to stay positive and strong and to never let her family down.

PHOTO: Martin Stansfeld of the Beaverbrook Circle, JoAnn’s daughter Sarah, and Commander Michael Healy, a great friend of JoAnn. Ian Brodie