Joan Willett, a 106-year-old resident of a care home in Hastings, UK, has received the Prime Minister’s Points of Light Award for her fundraising efforts for the British Heart Foundation (BHF). Joan walked up and down a steep hill outside her care home several times a day during the pandemic lockdown to raise funds for BHF, and she has collected over £60,000 in donations. Joan survived a heart attack at the age of 82 thanks to life-saving bypass surgery and heart valve replacement. She started walking up and down the hill outside her care home to stay healthy, and after watching Captain Tom Moore’s fundraising efforts on TV, she decided to use her daily exercise routine to support heart research. Her efforts have now been recognised with the Points of Light Award, given to ordinary people who have done extraordinary things for their community.
Joan’s MP, Sally-Ann Hart, nominated her for the special award and presented her with her Points of Light Certificate signed by the Prime Minister on April 12th. On receiving the award, BHF quoted Joan as saying: “It’s a huge surprise to receive this award from the Prime Minister and lovely that my MP thought of me and made the nomination. I feel very honoured and flattered, but I don’t think I have done anything special. During the pandemic, I was inspired by watching Captain Tom to do my walk for the British Heart Foundation because thanks to their research I have been able to reach the age I am and still enjoy life.”
Captain Tom Moore was a British Army officer and fundraiser who raised money for charity in the run-up to his 100th birthday during the pandemic. Joan is now looking forward to celebrating her 107th birthday, and her message to others is simple: “The best thing about all this – apart from raising the money to help others – was seeing how kind people have been. You only hear about the bad things in the world, but this has given me great faith in humanity.”