Walk of the WHW to honour inspirational 85-year-old

Joan Porter with her scripts.
Joan Porter with her scripts.

Family and friends of an inspirational pensioner who became a published children’s book author aged 85 are doing a charity walk in her honour this summer.

Joan Porter, who lives in sheltered housing in Bearsden, fulfilled her lifelong dream when she signed a deal to get her stories, written in rhyme, published last October.

Amazingly she wrote the entertaining and witty tales 40 years ago when her children were young.

The stories are inspired by growing up in Kilberry in the west coast of Scotland and then raising her family in Tarbet, Argyll, in the countryside surrounded by nature and animals.

She writes about the adventures of countryside animals such as mice, voles, squirrels and frogs.

Joan started to write when she took a job in a playgroup and needed to remember them so that she could tell them to the children.

However, she was too busy looking after her family, and latterly caring for her husband Bill who had liver cancer, to focus on herself.

Daughters Arlene Harrison and Lynne Agnew decided to surpise her by doing it for her last year as a way of thanking her for always being there for them.

Joan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2012 and sadly her condition has been getting worse over the past year.

But Joan has still managed to attend book signings, visited primary schools for readings and donated books to hospitals and schools. Joan has even been the guest speaker at St Andrew’s University to educate students about living with dementia.

Hundreds of copies of her books have been sold, both here and overseas including France, Sweden and the USA.

Her daughter Arlene said: “As well as dementia mum has hearing impairments and is registered disabled.

“Despite all of this she has proved that no matter how old you are or what health problems you have - anything is possible.

“Her determination and courage to educate and not let Alzheimer’s hold her back in any way has inspired everyone both young and old.

“She has become an advocate for the charity Alzheimer Scotland as well as for dementia sufferers everywhere.”

A team of eight family and friends plan to walk 98 miles in four days along The West Highland Way from Milngavie to Fort William from May 26 to 29.

They hope to raise £1,500 for Alzheimer Scotland - if you’d like to donate please visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jauntforjoan.

They will also film every day for an online documentary.

Joan’s family wish to thank Milngavie resident, Allan Bryden, Director of GP Environmental Ltd for funding the charity walk. After reading Joan’s story he agreed immediately to fund the event, which would not be possible without his contribution.