Fashion conscious Joan Spreckley feared she would never walk again when she broke her hip earlier this year.
But, just a few months later, the determined 97 year old was back on her feet again, helped by the team at ExtraCare's Rosewood Court retirement scheme in Wellingborough. She was able to celebrate in style when they took her on a special trip to London Fashion Weekend.
Joan was encouraged on the road to recovery by Rosewood Court's Well-being Advisor Marion Grey.
When Marion saw the pictures of Joan in the front row for the catwalk show, she said: "My heart leapt and I thought how marvellous it was. I felt joy at what we had achieved as a group to get her back to where she is now. It's something she would never have done if she hadn't come into the ExtraCare family."
Joan, a great-grandmother, came to Rosewood Court two years ago. In May this year, she fell and fractured the neck of her femur and needed an operation to insert a pin and a metal plate. Marion went to see her in hospital and it was then that she promised her she would walk again.
Joan came back to Rosewood Court still in pain and with restricted mobility. Marion visited her regularly to give her support and guidance, arranged for her to have physiotherapy and encouraged her to keep going when she wanted to give up.
Now Joan is able to walk again, although she sometimes uses a walking frame for support, and has been able to keep her independence.
"She is just a wonderful lady," says Marion.
Joan has always loved fashion and sewing and takes part in activities at Rosewood Court. She enjoyed dressing up and coming down in her hat when Rosewood Court held its own race day to coincide with Ladies Day at Royal Ascot. And earlier this year she dressed up in a wedding outfit for a charity photoshoot held by a local dress agency.
She started machining at the age of 14 and made all her clothes and clothes for her two children. Even now, despite poor vision, she still loves knitting and sewing. She is making a scarf, has made several hats and is teaching other people to knit and sew.
"She has always been a very fashion conscious person," says Marion. "She is tall and elegant and so well dressed. And she is spirited."
Rosewood Court's Activity Co-ordinator Meg Neilan knew that Joan would love London Fashion Weekend at the end of September. She managed to get tickets to the event for Joan and another Rosewood Court Resident, 83 year old Barbara Sherriff.
"I thought it would be really nice for them to experience a modern fashion show and compare it to the fashions they were used to when they were younger," says Meg.
It was going to be a fantastic day out but Joan was apprehensive about whether she could make it. Meg and Marion reassured her and Marion also persuaded her to take a wheelchair to make sure she didn't get too tired and fully enjoyed her day.
Joan made the trip and had a great time. They were able to access all areas and even had front row tickets for the catwalk show.
"They seemed to enjoy every minute of it. They were spoilt all day long, everyone was so blown away by them because of their attitude," says Meg.
"They are so inspirational and they have such a positive outlook on life. They don't let anything stop them or hold them back.
"Joan has sheer determination to make a laugh and joke out of life and carry on and be happy. She had a brilliant day. She was beaming.
"They are still talking about it now."
Picture: Meg, Joan and Barbara from Rosewood Court in Wellingborough take a trip to London Fashion Weekend.
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