Joan Willet’s fundraiser passes £33k after appearance on BBC Breakfast

Joan Willet SUS-200906-093154001Joan Willet SUS-200906-093154001
Joan Willet SUS-200906-093154001
A 104-year-old Hastings woman who was inspired by Sir Captain Tom Moore to walk the steep hill outside her care home has raised more than £33,000.

Joan Willet had raised £11,000 for the British Heart Foundation by walking the slope outside Old Hastings House residential care home four times a day. As she completed her challenge on Sunday – her 104th birthday – she had chalked up 17 miles.

She was interviewed on BBC Breakfast on Monday morning (July 20) and, as a result, her fundraising total for the British Heart Foundation has skyrocketed to £33,716. Her initial target had been £500.

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Speaking to the BBC, Joan said: “People are so kind and people are so good and we don’t hear anything about them. We only hear the bad things.

“But there is so much good in this world and I hope that people will realise how much good there is.

“Good people, you see, don’t make a fuss about it. They just keep quiet and get on with it. And I’ve got so many good people round me – not only the staff, the residents, and people outside, and even people I don’t know. People I’ve never met before have shown me so much kindness and help. It’s wonderful.

Joan was inspired by fellow centenarian Sir Captain Tom Moore to do her daily treks.

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The former teacher had life-saving valve replacement surgery after her second heart attack when she was 82 and since then has been walking the hill outside her care home daily to keep fit and independent.

But after watching Sir Captain Tom on TV she decided to use her daily exercise to help fund the heart research that she says allowed her to reach her 100th birthday, and beyond.

With the help of her friend and care home worker Pauline Glenet, Joan set up a JustGiving page which has now raised more than £33,000.

Among those who donated and sent messages of support were former pupils of Hollington School in Hastings where she taught for more than 30 years and later became Deputy Head.