Family and friends will gather on Thursday (June 20) to say goodbye to tireless charity worker Joan Walton.

Joan Walton loved donning outfits for different seasons and themes while she ran her Barnstaple Pannier Market charity stall.Joan Walton loved donning outfits for different seasons and themes while she ran her Barnstaple Pannier Market charity stall.

BARNSTAPLE will bid a sad farewell to Joan Walton tomorrow Thursday following the well liked community fund raiser's death earlier this month.

She was a familiar sight at the Pannier Market, with her charity stall and endlessly inventive fancy dress costumes for every season from Halloween to Christmas, always happy to chat and share a joke.

A mother of eight - seven daughters and one son - plus 20 grand children and 14 great grandchildren, Joan passed away at North Devon District Hospital on June 9 after illness, aged 79.

All who knew her are welcome to a public funeral service at Christ Church in Bear Street on Thursday at 12.45pm, with family flowers only, but donations welcome for Devon Air Ambulance or Barnstaple Cats Protection.

Joan Walton loved donning outfits for different seasons and themes while she ran her Barnstaple Pannier Market charity stall.Joan Walton loved donning outfits for different seasons and themes while she ran her Barnstaple Pannier Market charity stall.

Following the service the cortege will travel along Butchers Row as Joan Walton passes by the market she loved one final time before going on to a private family committal at the crematorium.

She was born in Hatherleigh, but later moved to Plymouth, before returning to North Devon more than 25 years ago, when she met her late husband Frank.

Her tireless devotion to charity saw Joan run her market stall for almost all of that time, raising thousands of pounds.

She had a strong attachment to the air ambulance and also Barnstaple Cats Protection, which she founded, but also raised money for both hospices, the Salvation Army, British Heart Foundation and more.

Joan was particularly proud of her garden, which had won the annual Barnstaple in Bloom gardens competition and each year would open it to the public, all for charity.

Her good works did not escape official attention and three years ago she was invited to a Buckingham Palace Garden Party, with Her Majesty the Queen in attendance.

In a letter of testimony at the time, Lydia Shelton of Barnstaple and District Cats Protection said: "Joan is a true volunteer - her reward comes from doing all she can to help others."

Daughter Yvonne Hampton said going through a box of memories this week had reminded them all just how much she had done for local charities: "She just loved life and was always giving - she loved to give and got a great sense of feeling in giving to all.

"Even though she was confined to her home by ill health, she still wanted to go to the market or St John's Nurseries - but we couldn't go anywhere without constantly stopping, because she knew so many people."