Award honour for market trader Joan Ward (90) after almost 70 years in the fruit-and-veg trade

By Michael Upton | 04/10/2019

Award honour for market trader Joan Ward (90) after almost 70 years in the fruit-and-veg trade

A 90-year-old market trader — who gets up at the crack of dawn six times a week — will give herself a well-earned day off after being nominated for a national award.

Grandma Joan Ward (pictured) has sold fruit and veg from her Wath stall for the last 67 years. 

Now she has reached the finals of the Active Agers category in global hearing specialist Amplifon’s search for the “best of British” heroes.

And Joan will keep the shutters down — for one day only — later this month to attend the awards lunch at the Army & Navy Club in London.

Joan wakes up at 6.30am every day and sets out her stall — even carrying sacks of potatoes — by 8am. She even drives the van and collects deliveries.

“I don’t need a walking stick or frame to get round my stall,” she said.

“I might be 90 but I honestly feel more like 60.”

Joan’s life as a greengrocer started after she stopped for a chat with market trader Fred Ward as his stall.

Eventually they got married and Joan joined Fred running the stall in 1952, and continued after his death in 2006.

Joan, who owns Wath’s Value For Money Market in Rotherham, where her business is based, said: “I’m not thinking of giving up my stall yet. 

“As long as feel fit and able, I will continue working. 

“I’ve got to think about my customers, some who I have known for donkey’s years. I don’t want to let them down.

“I love to chat to the people who come to buy my fruit and veg. And children I served years ago now bring their own children to the stall, which is lovely.”

The Amplifon awards are in their fourth year and aim to celebrate remarkable people and pets.

The winners will be judged by a panel including Falklands War hero Simon Weston and presented with their awards by the Duke of Kent.

Joan was born in her gran’s fish and chip shop and helped deliver fruit and veg from her father’s horse and cart as a young girl.

She said: “I have never really thought about my age because the years have gone by that fast. Time flies when you are working hard.”

Her sister Pat (79) runs a café in the market, and daughter Catherine (60) a card shop.
 


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