Joan, 96, one of UK’s oldest volunteers for cancer charity

Ninety six year old cancer research volunteer Joan Hall with manager Debbie Kerkhof. Ref shs 7855-23

Ninety six year old cancer research volunteer Joan Hall with manager Debbie Kerkhof. Ref shs 7855-23-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

A 96-year-old volunteer from Sidmouth is one of the oldest helpers for Cancer Research UK.

Joan Hall has been giving up her time for the charity since the town’s branch opened in 1987.

Manager Debbie Kerkhof took over at Sidmouth in April and was amazed by Joan’s dedication to the charity.

She said: “She just came in one day and said ‘I am working today’ and she just started getting on with her job.

“Joan is the original volunteer. There are several volunteers like her and every week they are there and they are so reliable.

“You can really tell her commitment to the charity.”

During the 1970s, Joan began volunteering at Imperial Cancer Research, which merged to become Cancer Research UK.

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Joan is usually behind the scenes at the shop, processing new stock, a job she still enjoys doing one day a week.

She said: “I just like helping people, if I can. I suppose some of my family had cancer, so there was a family connection.”

The Salcombe Regis resident was honoured with a long-service pin in January this year, after being with the store for more than 25 years.

Alison Birkett, spokesman for Cancer Research UK, said: “We are so grateful to all our volunteers who dedicate their time to help Cancer Research UK. Many are dedicated volunteers like Joan.

“We do have many men and women in their 70s, 80s and older and it is wonderful to hear that Joan has recently celebrated her 96th birthday and is still as dedicated to the cause as when she first started volunteering.”

The branch is looking for new volunteers. Drop into the shop in Fore Street and pick up a volunteer pack.

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