Dedicated former Lancashire nurse Joan Grimshaw dies from coronavirus

A much-loved grandmother who worked for the NHS since it was first established in 1948 has died from coronavirus aged 89.

By James Holt
Saturday, 18th April 2020, 6:00 am
Joan Grimshaw as a nurse, and after retirement
Joan Grimshaw as a nurse, and after retirement

Joan Grimshaw, from New Longton, passed away after a week battling the virus on April 1.

After joining the NHS 72 years ago, Joan gave years of hard work to the service, a job that she worked in after becoming a student nurse at just 18 years old.

She was one of the first in a group of student nurses to work for the health service, and looked back on her career with fond memories after her retirement in 1995.

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Even in retirement, Joan would still attend nights out with the casualty staff once a month.

Her daughter, Denise, had recently moved her to a care home in Stockport to spend more time with her but still made sure her mum saw old friends and colleagues from her time in the NHS.

Denise, 63, said: “Her job used to mean everything to her and even in retirement, she wanted to stay on for as long as she could.

“We used to take her back to see her friends, even though many of them had passed away and others had dementia.”

Joan, who would’ve been 90 this year, became more isolated when her residential home went into lockdown because of coronavirus.

Instead, Denise and the family stayed in touch with Joan through video calls in the weeks before her death, but hadn’t seen her mum since March 10.

Joan was then admitted to Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, close to her family in Didsbury.

Denise said: “We have found this so hard for our family. Once there had been confirmed cases in her home, we couldn’t see her.

“Then we couldn’t see her in the hospital, and it was hard contacting them because they were so busy. We weren’t getting regular updates from them.”

Denise said the nurses at Stepping Hill treated Joan “like a queen” after finding out about her dedication to the NHS.

Even though her family wasn’t able to be with her, a nurse sat with her and held her hand as she passed away.

“Whenever we were phoned with updates, the nurses were so sensitive. You could hear the emotion in their voices.

“We are so grateful for all of this. They were a family to my mum and we will continue to clap for them every Thursday evening.”

Due to a shortage in coffins, Denise and her family are still trying to plan a small cremation for immediate family, but are planning on organising a celebration of Joan’s life in Preston later in the year.

“We will plan a celebration of her life and invite all her friends and colleagues she used to work with in Preston. It’s what she would’ve wanted.”

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