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Former auxiliary nurse who raised £35k for the NHS has died

Joan Rich, who raised the money by walking around her local park in Felixstowe, Suffolk in 2020, died in her sleep two months before her 104th birthday

Joan Rich, who raised the money by walking around her local park in Felixstowe, Suffolk in 2020, died in her sleep two months before her 104th birthday

A former nursing auxiliary who raised money for the NHS by walking 102 laps of her local park in the run up to her 102 nd birthday has died.

Joan Rich – who was dubbed Joan of Park – covered more than 35 miles and raised £35,000 by walking around her local park in Felixstowe, Suffolk in 2020.

Joan Rich, who raised the money by walking around her local park in Felixstowe, Suffolk in 2020, died in her sleep two months before her 104th birthday

Joan Rich, who raised the money by walking around her local park in Felixstowe, Suffolk in 2020, died in her sleep two months before her 104th birthday
Joan Rich walked more than 35 miles raising funds for the NHS in 2020. Picture: Alamy

A former nursing auxiliary who raised money for the NHS by walking 102 laps of her local park in the run up to her 102nd birthday has died.

Joan Rich – who was dubbed Joan of Park – covered more than 35 miles and raised £35,000 by walking around her local park in Felixstowe, Suffolk in 2020.

Remembered for her kindness and ‘believed in looking out for others’

Ms Rich died in her sleep at home on 29 July less than two months before her 104th birthday. Speaking to Nursing Standard, her daughter Diane Rich said she ‘always believed in looking out for others’ and would be remembered for her kindness.

‘Joan’s dream would be for people to show kindness, however great or small, to someone who needs help or support, but wasn’t expecting it,’ she said.

During the Second World War Ms Rich served with the Royal Military Police and was posted to the Middle East where she helped rehabilitate prisoners of war returning to England.

Ms Rich worked as a nursing auxiliary at Hillingdon Hospital in north-west London in the 1950s and in the outpatient department at Felixstowe General Hospital from 1964 until her retirement in 1978.

Cheered on by guard of honour when she finished walking challenge on 102nd birthday

Once retired, Ms Rich worked in a charity shop. She also volunteered for a local club for young people with learning disabilities for 25 years.

Aged 95 she did a 5K charity walk in aid of Cancer Research UK, and in 2020 – once COVID-19 restrictions were eased – completed 102 circuits of Allenby Park to raise money for NHS Charities Together.

Ms Rich finished the challenge on her 102nd birthday when she was cheered on by a guard of honour, including serving and former members of the Royal Military Police.

Speaking to Nursing Standard in 2020, she said: ‘If I could have come out of retirement to help out with the virus crisis I would have, but at nearly 102 I don’t think they’d have had me.

‘This is my way to do my bit. There wasn’t an NHS until I was 32, and I don’t want it to disappear.’


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