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More than 20 years after founding a multiple sclerosis (MS) support group, Joan Grady is retiring knowing its future is safe in the hands of Shopper-Aide.
The Campbeltown MS Social Group was set up in 1999 as the Campbeltown Young Disabled Group, primarily aimed at supporting people with MS, a lifelong condition affecting the brain and nerves, causing a range of symptoms including tiredness, vision problems and issues with walking and balance.
Fast forward to 2022, as well as the group’s new name, some of the faces changed, both through health and age, and a few people sadly dying due to complications associated with MS.
However, throughout all these years, there was one constant and that was Joan.
During lockdown, she phoned the group’s members regularly, making sure everything was ok and checking if there was anything they needed.
After lockdown, transport once again became an issue, which is where Shopper-Aide, a charity supporting Kintyre’s older residents, stepped in to help out.
After a few weeks of getting the group settled at its new meeting place in The Teapot Room within Shopper-Aide’s premises at Snipefield Industrial Estate, Joan announced her intention to retire.
Shopper-Aide has agreed to take over responsibility for the group’s transport and organisation, allowing it to continue.
Joan joined the group for a final get-together at Machrihanish Golf Club where they enjoyed lunch and stunning views at the clubhouse.
She was presented with an arrangement of flowers to thank her for her years of support.
Fiona Rowland, the group’s secretary, said: ‘All the members of the group know they are going to miss her, but thank Joan for everything she has done for them, not just with disability issues, but as a friend and a confidante, and for this, we thank her.’
Gayle Barrett, Kelly Brown, Sam Clements and all the staff at Shopper-Aide also wish Joan a long and happy retirement, knowing that she can now put her feet up with a cup of tea and a biscuit on Tuesday afternoons.
Joan added: ‘I would like to thank all those who supported the group by giving of their time and talents and also individuals and organisations who made donations, helping make Tuesday afternoons a special time for the members.
‘It enabled the group to have monthly days out during the summer and a pre-Christmas shopping trip for many years.
‘I wish everyone a happy time together for the future.’