“We just want to show her we appreciate what she does for everyone,” said Joan’s son Steven.
“Dad was in the forces when we were little so she had a hard time bringing up three kids. But she did a brilliant job.”
Joan was not expecting the Guardian on her doorstep this week as we turned up with the prestigious rose award.
“I’m speechless,” she said. “I read all the other Guardian Rose storied in the paper but I never expected I’d get one myself.”
Joan, of Bracebridge, has spent many years caring for family and friends, visiting them and putting their needs before her own.
Daughter Sonia Harvey said: “My cousin died at a young age and my mum was always there for her. She did the same for our grandma and granddad too when they were reaching the end.”
“And just recently her aunty passed away but mum helped her as much as she could. She would accompany her two or three times a week to visit her husband in the care home where he was living, and take her out places.”
“She listens to everyone’s point of view and doesn’t judge anybody.”
Steven added: “She’s just a caring, sharing, lovable person and I don’t know what we’d do without her.”
Joan tried to play down the praise coming from her children, by saying ‘that’s what I’m there for’.
She said: “They look after us too, they do just as much to help out.”
“But if they have got problems then we try and help them.”
Joan thanked Steve and Sonia for giving her the rose, with a tear in her eye.
“It’s such a nice surprise,” she said.
Part of Joan’s charm is that she puts her own troubles aside to help others.
She struggles with her own health problems, including painful arthritis in her spine which can make it hard for her to even get out of bed.
“Mum doesn’t let it get her down. She’s very active really. She goes to the bingo two or three times a week and enjoys seeing her friends there,” said Sonia.
“And her and Dad like to do the car boots on a Sunday, and go on coach holidays.”
Steve added: “Her grandchildren think the world of her too. They love her to bits and they like to pay her a visit. She spoils them rotten.”