The Felixstowe Flyer August 2020

Felixstowe hero raises money for the NHS

A living angel walks the park,

She’s known to us as Joan.

She’s walking for the NHS,

But isn’t on her own-

Her daughter walks beside her,

To make sure Joan’s on track.

Dog-walkers wave; their dogs behave,

And sometimes Joan waves back.

Joan worked at Felixstowe Hospital,

Retired in ’78.

Still doing her bit to help them out,

She hopes that you’ll donate.

There’s a place to make donations-

You’ll see it at the end.

However small, it all adds up,

To count you as Joan’s friend.

(Thank you)

Felixstowe’s hero, Joan Rich, raises money for the NHS by walking the pathways of Allenby Park 102 times before her 102nd birthday. Exceeding the 80th circuit already, Joan hopes to smash her target by September!

As a child, and for more than half her adult life, Joan lived close to Allenby Park – the one in Felixstowe, and the one in Jerusalem too!

Not just a WW2 veteran, Joan worked in Hillingdon Hospital in the 1950s, then Felixstowe General Hospital as an auxiliary nurse in the outpatient department from 1964 until retiring in 1978. She often remembers retrieving patients from Allenby Park as part of her NHS nursing duties. She says, ‘Even though they were treated very well, some preferred to be recovering in the park!’ Forty-two years later, she is marching round it, but without patients; just birds singing, children playing, dog walkers with dogs, picnickers relaxing on the grass, footballers, and people exercising, some like Joan, have walking aids.

The gates and railings are decorated with bunting, and posters coloured by children from Fairfield Infant School. Local stores and houses display them too, but let’s get them everywhere! Let’s all support Joan!

Joan is grateful to everyone who has donated, or simply waved as she walks round.

Myth and Mischief In Allenby Park raising money for local charity

Five local authors, including former Felixstowe resident award winning Lesley Glaister, celebrate the history of one of Felixstowe’s parks, exploring truths that lie behind the gates of Allenby Park. Profits from the sale of their publication, Myth and Mischief in Allenby Park go to the charity Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

In 2018 local artist, Charles Nightingale, presented Joan Rich with a watercolour, Allenby Park for her 100th birthday. Ideas for the book, which is dedicated to Joan, grew from there, and were further fuelled by someone trying to deliver a parcel to a vanished house. Between 39 and 43 Constable Road there is no 41. Instead, there are splendid gates leading to Allenby Park.

Myth and Mischief in Allenby Park offers three stories, three poems, and a story for children. Characters and events were inspired by the missing house, Felixstowe House, formerly on the site of Allenby Park, and by one of its occupants, Field Marshall Viscount 1st of Megiddo and Felixstowe, Lord Allenby (1880-1936).

The stories are works of fiction by authors Lesley Glaister, Robin Greene, Charles Nightingale, Luke Nightingale and Diane Rich. A foreword, and final synchronicities section, by Dominique Roche, introduces Joan, and explores her curious links with Allenby Park and Lord Allenby as well as some facts about him.

Written before the outbreak of Covid-19, no-one could have predicted that 101-year-old Joan, who worked for many years at Felixstowe General Hospital, would be a Suffolk hero by the time Myth and Mischief in Allenby Park was launched. Joan is walking the paths of Allenby Park 102 times to raise money for the NHS.

Published locally by Diatom, Myth and Mischief in Allenby Park

is available from Felixstowe’s local bookstore:

Stillwater Books, 36 Hamilton Road, 01394 548010 •