A former champion runner celebrated her 100th birthday with a tea party at a Bexhill care home this week.
Joan was born on October 10, 1917, at Waterloo Road in Tonbridge, Kent, to parents James Wood and Grace Winifred Wood. Joan was the youngest of three children – she had a brother, Jim, and a sister called Doreen.
Before World War II, Joan and Doreen were champion runners and both ran with Kent Ladies. Joan won many championships.
During the early part of the war, the family lived in Chislehurst, Kent, and the family often sheltered in the caves overnight. One such night Doreen suggested to Joan that they stay at home and listen to records but Joan decided to go with her parents. Sadly, Doreen was lost in an air raid when their house took a direct hit.
Joan took an active part in the war effort and was a ‘Land Army Girl’.
Joan married Walter George McKinnon Pink as soon as he was demobbed, at St Stephen’s Parish Church, Tonbridge, on December 29, 1945. They were blessed with one son, Andrew McKinnon Pink, who was born in January 1950. Andrew suffered from cerebral palsy, but was treated by Great Ormond Street Hospital, who complimented Joan, in a letter with her archive photos, on her exceptional cooperation with the physiotherapy he received.
He was able to attend mainstream schools and held down a job with the Woolwich Building Society until his late 50s. He was a great reader and keen investigator of family history.
In the late 1990s Andrew and Joan met up with David Pink and his wife Margaret, who became close friends. Andrew and David were third cousins as their respective great-grandfathers were brothers. Margaret continues to visit Joan regularly each week.
After Walter’s death in July 1986 Joan continued to look after Andrew until his early demise in December 2010. Joan felt the loss of her son very much and decided to retire to The Hawthorns in Eastbourne, where she enjoyed a full and happy life until she became unable to live independently. Since then, she has been cared for by the staff of Ardath Care Home, on Hastings Road.
A celebratory tea party was held at the home for Mrs Pink on Wednesday, October 10.