Century celebrations ahead for wartime evacuee Joan

Joan Harris

Joan Harris will be celebrating her 100th birthday this weekend - Credit: Contributed

This weekend (Sunday October 24) will mark a very special day for Exmouth resident Joan Harris, who will be celebrating her 100th birthday.

The soon-to-be centenarian is well known in East Devon for her crocheted and knitted creations which she has made to raise money for local charities.

It has been a busy year of celebrations so far this year with members of Joan’s family marking their 70th, 80th and 90th birthdays.

Born in South Norwood, London, Joan came to Exmouth in 1944, her family having been evacuated when doodlebugs hit their home in 1941.

After moving to East Devon she raised her family of five girls, Janet, Sheela, Lesley, Mandy ( who now lives in Australia) and Julie.

As an accomplished seamstress, crafter and oil painter Joan has knitted and crocheted her way through hundreds of balls of wool to make items for various charities including supporting Honiton Hospiscare Support Group.

They included Easter chicks, Christmas robins, owls, crotched fruit baskets, vegetables, dolls and animals.

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Honiton Hospiscare Support Group volunteer Bridget Hallowes said: “We thank you Joan, and happy 100th birthday!

“Hospiscare needs to continue to raise money to fund the free services it provides.

“Like many others, the charity has had a difficult time as fundraising activities which have been cancelled or postponed have had a huge impact on donations handed in.”

Hospiscare’s roots can be traced back to a January night in 1982 when more than 400 people crowded into Exeter’s Guildhall to hear Dr John Searle talk about the urgent need for a local hospice care service.
At the time, people with a life-limiting illness often had little or no support other than what their families could provide and were sent home with a ‘bottle of whisky a day’ as medication.
Dr Searle worked with a team of volunteers to fundraise for a community nurse service. 
Hospiscare now supports more than 2,000 people each year, in some of the hardest times possible and operates across the heart of Devon. Many services are delivered out in the community but the charity also runs day hospices in Exeter, Honiton and Tiverton.

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