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Joan, 102, completes final lap of challenge - having raised nearly £25,000 for NHS

PUBLISHED: 18:17 11 September 2020 | UPDATED: 18:40 11 September 2020

Joan Rich with her daughter Diane entered the park to a round of applause Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Joan Rich with her daughter Diane entered the park to a round of applause Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Sarah Lucy Brown

Inspirational Felixstowe fundraiser Joan Rich has completed her mammoth challenge of walking 102 laps of a park on her 102nd birthday - having raised nearly £25,000 for the NHS.

Felixstowe mayor Mark Jepson accompanied the pair on the walk Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNFelixstowe mayor Mark Jepson accompanied the pair on the walk Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Joan, who celebrated her birthday on Friday, set herself the challenge of walking 102 laps of Allenby Park in Felixstowe before she turned 102 earlier in the year.

As a former auxiliary nurse at Felixstowe General Hospital, Joan decided to help out the NHS in its time of need during the coronavirus crisis.

She has been accompanied by her daughter Diane on her walks throughout the park, with the pair covering a distance of around 35 miles.

The JustGiving page Diane set up for the challenge initially had a relatively modest target of £1,020 - but news of Joan’s efforts spread rapidly and donations began flooding in.

Joan received a guard of honour from Royal Military Police from Colchester Garrison Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNJoan received a guard of honour from Royal Military Police from Colchester Garrison Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

On Friday, the fundraising total stood at a staggering £24,628 before gift aid is added.

MORE: Military police join 101-year-old on park walk in support of NHS

Captain Sir Tom Moore, who raised millions for the NHS doing a similar challenge, has previously sent Joan a message of support.

Joan said she was inspired to complete the challenge after seeing “NHS” mowed into the lawn of the park during the coronavirus lockdown.

Noah, Lauren, Phoebe, Toby, and Kim cheering Joan on Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNNoah, Lauren, Phoebe, Toby, and Kim cheering Joan on Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

She said: “I wanted to do my bit for them.

“The only way I can help is by walking, like Sir Tom, I hope it makes a difference.”

Joan opted to mark her 102nd birthday with her final lap of the challenge, where members of the Felixstowe community - including mayor Mark Jepson - cheered her on.

Having also served in the Second World War, Joan also received a guard of honour from Royal Military Police from Colchester Garrison on Friday.

Joan's walks have raised nearly £25,000 for the NHS Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNJoan's walks have raised nearly £25,000 for the NHS Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The money she has raised will be donated to NHS Charities Together, which will be used to pay for vital projects and medical equipment to support healthcare staff, volunteers and patients.

Diane said: “Joan has done really well and she is so proud of herself.

“She has been overwhelmed by people she has never met before, both in kindness and through donations.

“We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has donated. We really appreciate everyone.”

Joan Rich with her daughter entered the park to a round of applause Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNJoan Rich with her daughter entered the park to a round of applause Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

As a sign of her achievement, Mr Jepson presented Joan with a certificate from the town council on Friday.

He added: “I have been following Joan on her whole journey - she’s done brilliantly.

“It’s just an outstanding achievement for someone who is 102 years old.

“She has been an inspiration to different people of all ages in Felixstowe.

“We cannot underestimate what an achievement this is for someone her age.”

MORE: Centenarian’s walk round park in support of NHS


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