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

PUBLISHED: 17:09 06 August 2020 | UPDATED: 17:09 06 August 2020

Joan Rich was joined by Red Caps Christian Barry, Ben Farrow and Kate Allan for her 90th lap of the park  Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Joan Rich was joined by Red Caps Christian Barry, Ben Farrow and Kate Allan for her 90th lap of the park Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Charlotte Bond

Inspirational 101-year-old fundraiser Joan Rich was joined by Royal Military Police (RMP) officers as she completed the latest walk on her challenge in support of the NHS.

Joan Rich is only 12 laps of Allenby Park away from completing her goal Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDJoan Rich is only 12 laps of Allenby Park away from completing her goal Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Back in April, former nurse Joan set herself the challenge of completing 102 laps of Allenby Park in Felixstowe before her 102nd birthday in September.

Her daughter Diane set up a JustGiving page in the hope of raising a relatively modest sum of £1,020 for NHS Charities Together, with the money being used for projects and medical equipment to support healthcare staff, volunteers and patients.

However, Joan’s walks with her daughter Diane captured the heart of the Suffolk community and beyond as the donations poured in in their thousands.

The JustGiving page where the donations are being collected currently stands just shy of £22,000.

The former nurse has raised nearly £22,000 for NHS Charities Together Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDThe former nurse has raised nearly £22,000 for NHS Charities Together Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Joan worked as and auxiliary nurse at Felixstowe Hospital from 1964 to 1978 and served in the Second World War, being posted to the Middle East.

It was in Alexandria where, by chance, she met with some of her friends from Ipswich who had been held as prisoners of war.

MORE: Meet the woman raising money for NHS by walking 102 laps of park before she turns 102

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On Thursday’s walk of the park, Joan was accompanied by three RMP officers from Colchester Garrison, who paid tribute to her remarkable fundraising efforts during the coronavirus crisis.

Major Grace Irvine-Thompson, RMP Officer at HM Forces, said: “We have been supporting Joan with her walks throughout the lockdown.

“We are really impressed by what she’s doing.

“I know she holds the NHS really close to her heart.”

Joan is regularly joined by a number of residents from the Felixstowe community - with a fellow centenarian in 102-year-old Wynnie Dunger recently accompanying her on a lap of the park.

With her birthday on September 11, Joan is likely to finish her challenge within the next two weeks, but Diane said they would aim for the highest number of laps possible before that date.

She said: “We are probably going to overshoot and do more than 102 laps. It would be silly to stop, so we might try and eke out some more walks.

“It feels like it was winter when she started doing the walks, and she’s been gradually losing layers over the months.

“She has been doing so well.”

MORE: Centenarians walk round park in support of NHS


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