The 93 year-old Blackpool great-grandma supporting local patients


93 year-old Joan Briggs with some of the items she knits. She’s also wearing a cardigan she made herself.

A 93 year-old great-grandma from Blackpool,has been hailed as a ‘star’ for supporting local patients.

Joan Briggs, who was born on Layton Road, helps provide knitted blankets, purses and twiddle muffs -that provide stimulation for dementia patients – for Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

As a member of the Central Library’s monthly ‘Help Knit a Lifesaver’ group for seven years, Joan knits most days to help her keep active.

She said: “I have been knitting for most of my life and I am the type of person who can’t just sit and do nothing, so I keep knitting as well as doing crosswords, taking weekly exercise classes and daily walk.”

The group also knits items for charities and is taking part in Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s #TheGreatBTHKnit as part of the World War 1 centenary.

Joan heard about the group through her son’s girlfriend and makes the meetings each month come rain or shine.

She said: “Most of my friends have gone, so I like to keep occupied. I’m really lucky that I don’t have arthritis, in fact there’s not really anything wrong with me at all and I can still touch my toes!”

As well as keeping active and having good genes, Joan puts her longevity down to not eating chocolate, cheese, tomatoes or any food from a take-away. She also only drinks tea, water or milk.

Victoria Copeland, the knitting group’s founder and mentor, said: “Joan is an absolute star.

“She is a great knitter who made up the pattern for her little bags so that patients can put change and small items in them and hang them off their wrists. She has even created her own knitting stitch.

“She has had such an interesting life which she tells us about at the meetings.

“It’s amazing how she will attend the group, even in terrible weather. She’s an inspiration to us all.”

Joan added: “Being part of the group is a great way to socialise and keep my hands moving. If what I make helps others, then that’s even better.”

The Help Knit a Lifesaver group meets every first Monday of the month in the Reading Lounge of the Central Library, Queen Street, Blackpool. New members are always welcome as are donations of clean wool, buttons and ribbons.

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