Grandaughter inspired Joan in fighting quest.


Joanne Blackwell
Echo Newspaper Group
Jill Hunt after her sponsored walk.
Echo Newspaper Group

District News 13th May 1994, Clair Orton.

Centre plea.

Watching her grandaughter try to get a job set Joan Lythgoe off on her quest to do something for disabled school leavers. Joan, of Deepwater Road, Canvey, is on course to set up a training and work centre to plug what she sees as a gap in the job market. Joanne Blackwell was left severely paralysed after a vaccine jab went wrong when she was a child. She was in a coma for nine days and paralysed down one side. A few months later, she caught meningitis and now at 19, has only the use of her right hand. The struggles and disappointments she has gone through trying to find work in the two years since leaving school have made Joan all the more determined. Initially the project was called the Joanne Blackwell Trust. It is now know as Business Opportunities for Physically Handicapped. The aim is to offer training to handicapped young people to enable them to find some kind of work. This, Mrs Lythgoe believes would give such youngsters the chance of leading a life comparable with others of their age group. She said~’ These youngsters have a lot to offer and with computer technology and adaptations could show their worth if they got the chance. We feel our project could greatly add to the quality of life for these young people themselves, but also for their families. The group has found premises and is waiting for documents to be completed. Meanwhile the fundraising has been stepped up. Joanne’s sister Jill Hunt has just completed a sponsored walk and expects to bring in £800. A quiz night at The Barge  a pub on Canvey made £250. Joan is now after equipment to furnish the unit and is writing to local suppliers and builders merchants.

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