Dedicated Re-engage volunteer tea party group driver, Joan Olgun, left her beloved car to Re-engage when she died last year.
The black Hyundai i10 had ferried hundreds of guests to tea parties in and around Dulwich, South London, for 20-years. And to make sure Re-engage continued to benefit after her death Joan, 76, bequeathed the specially adapted car to the charity in her will.
The 20-year-old car, which had been modified to allow Joan to continue driving after diabetes led to a leg amputation, was sold by her executor and the proceeds have been re-invested in our social activities.
Julia Atkins, who ran the Dulwich tea party group for 43 years, said: “Joan was such a wonderful woman, the life and soul of any tea party - she was a small woman, but had a big character.
“She went through hell with various illnesses and had battled cancer for the last years of her life but she would never let anything get her down. She would whizz around everywhere in her car, which she absolutely adored.
“All the guests loved and admired her, and she was always extremely happy being with them. No matter where you went you would bump into someone who knew Joan. She was just one of those larger-than-life people you want to be around.
“In her earlier life she was a BT switchboard operator, which is probably where she developed her lovely chatty approach.
“At Christmas, she would enlist my husband Roy to take her to all the hospitals and medical centres where she had been treated and hand out presents to everyone, from the porters to the consultants. And she made sure all the tea party guests got a little gift as well.”
Joan, who was widowed, joined the Dulwich group as a driver in 1997, just after having her leg amputated, and continued to ferry guests to and from tea parties until around 2017. When driving became a little too much, she stayed with Re-engage as a tea party guest."
Julia added: “Joan was always kind, especially to her neighbours, and even used to provide accommodation for a young lad in the area who often needed somewhere to stay.
“She was a one-off and we all miss her a great deal.”
Keeping yourself and others safe in a heatwave
It may seem appealing to be outside in the sunshine, but, with this week's record heatwave, it’s important to know how to cope with the stifling heat and understand the risk factors, so you are prepared for when it returns.
Stay cool, stay safe and stay in touch with those who are more vulnerable.
Could you be a volunteer tea party group coordinator?
Attending monthly tea parties helps thousands of older people feel less isolated and lonely because of the friendships that develop between our older guests and volunteers.
We are looking for new volunteer tea party group coordinators in locations across England, Scotland and Wales.