Captain Tom inspires Exmouth’s Granny Joan, 95, to take on fundraising challenge for Hospiscare

A 95-year-old Exmouth gran who served on the Home Front during World War Two has been inspired by Captain Tom Moore to take on her own fundraising challenge.

Joan Crowden hopes to boost Hospiscare with balloons as a homage to her time in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force.

The Brixington resident, lovingly known as Granny Joan, and her two new hips will move 26 of the inflatable items from one end of her garden to the other – 26 times.

She heard about 99-year-old Captain Tom’s amazing £28million walk for NHS heroes and asked her grandchildren to help think of something she could do to raise money for Hospiscare.

Exmouth Joan Crowley prepares for her balloon challenge for Hospiscare.

Joan Crowden prepares for her balloon challenge for Hospiscare.

And It isn’t the first time that Granny Joan has done her bit for the community.

At the outbreak of World War Two, 17-year-old Joan left home to join the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and was soon helping the effort by working as a flight mechanic.

An important part of Joan’s role was to move the barrage balloons around the airfield to deter enemy aircraft and ensure the safety of our Spitfires.

She will take on her fundraising effort for Hospiscare on Sunday (April 26) as part of the 2.6 Challenge.

The date should have seen the 40thLondon Marathon – the world’s biggest one-day annual fundraising event – taking place in the capital.

As it cannot go ahead, people across the UK are instead taking on activities based around the numbers 2.6 or 26 to raise money for good causes.

Granny Joan is supporting Hospiscare as she has seen first-hand the specialist care the charity provides.

She has been moved by how its clinical team has adapted its services to continue caring for patients and to support the NHS during the coronavirus crisis.

A 17-year old Joan joined the RAF to help her country in World War Two.

A 17-year old Joan joined the RAF to help her country in World War Two.

Joan said: “You never know when you or your family might need Hospiscare.

“I am taking on this challenge to help them care for others when and where it’s needed.”

Her granddaughter Sarah Smith, who works for the hospice charity, added: “Gran is a quiet person and not one for the limelight, but she’s also very determined.

“Once she has set herself a goal, she will do everything she can to achieve it so we know she’ll succeed with this challenge.

“We are so proud of gran; she has seen the comfort and care that Hospiscare provides and is determined to do her bit to help the charity navigate these difficult times.”

Hospiscare relies upon the generosity of the local community to provide its services.

With its charity shops closed and its fundraising events cancelled, it says its finances are ‘drastically impacted’.

Aid from the Government will help support the cause until June – but not in full.

“Supporters such as Granny Joan are needed now more than ever to help the charity continue to provide its essential care for people living with a terminal illness in the heart of Devon,” said a Hospiscare spokesperson.

To support Granny Joan’s challenge, visit her JustGivng page here.

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