'Inspirational' former midwife and artist remembered after Covid-19 death

Tributes have been paid to retired midwife and artist Joyce O'Toole who lived in Woodbridge

Tributes have been paid to retired midwife and artist Joyce O'Toole who lived in Woodbridge - Credit: Clare O'Toole

Tributes have been paid to an "inspirational" and "super positive" artist and great grandmother who has died at the age of 99.

Yorkshire-born mother-of-four Joyce Rita O'Toole became well-known and loved around Woodbridge thanks to her notorious sense of humour and dedication to helping others.

Mrs O'Toole's family said she will be remembered for her positivity and devotion to helping others

Mrs O'Toole's family said she will be remembered for her positivity and devotion to helping others - Credit: Clare O'Toole

The former midwife, who previously worked in Cornwall, Edinburgh and London, raised her four daughters in Sproughton alongside husband Desmond, who managed the local sugar beet factory.

They soon found a new home in Woodbridge after retirement, where Mrs O'Toole became an active member of the local catholic church and ran a bed and breakfast to support the charity Oxfam.

Having lived with osteoporosis and arthritis, Mrs O'Toole died on January 23 after contracting Covid-19.

Mrs O'Toole has family all over the globe, but found a place in her heart for Suffolk

Mrs O'Toole has family all over the globe, but found a place in her heart for Suffolk - Credit: Clare O'Toole

Mrs O'Toole's daughter Clare, who now lives in the USA, said her mum "took Suffolk into her heart" and will forever be remembered for her positivity.

She said: "Mum, granny and great-granny to a family spread far and wide around the globe, Joyce O’Toole was an inspiration to all.

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"She was a dynamic and super positive person who rarely let anything faze her and, in true matriarchal spirit, would let her opinion be known, no matter how challenging the circumstances.

"She loved to be the life and soul of large family get-togethers, especially if it involved a pub and a chance to exhibit her notorious humour."

Mrs O'Toole was a prominent member of her local art group in Woodbridge

Mrs O'Toole was a prominent member of her local art group in Woodbridge - Credit: Clare O'Toole

Clare added her mother became well-known in the east Suffolk town for "pushing the fastest mobility walker", and continued to make time to embrace the notion of growing old with her friends.

Clare added: "Even with her body twisted and broken from osteoporosis and arthritis, nothing held her back until Covid sadly robbed her of her 100th birthday this year.

"Joyce was a keen walker, swimmer and artist and leaves behind a multitude of plein air oils and watercolours depicting Suffolk scenes and a number of copies of old masters that are really very good.

"She was quite a character – a well-known, loved and widely liked person who will be sorely missed by family and friends."

Have you lost a loved one to the coronavirus? If you would like to pay tribute to a family member, send it to us using this link.

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