TRIBUTES have been paid to a ‘selfless’ Newport pensioner who dedicated her life to helping others.

Joan Davies was a well-liked figure in the community for all her work in Maesglas. She dedicated the latter part of her life to helping the community in Maesglas with saving money and raising money for charities.

Mrs Davies died on New Year's Eve after a battle with dementia, aged 87. She became a community treasure after raising thousands for local charities throughout her life.

“Mum started doing stuff about 30 years ago,” said son Alun Davies. “She retired early and thought because she lived in Maesglas for most of her life, she would do something for local charities.”

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Mrs Davies and her husband would step in and run pubs on behalf of the breweries according to Mr Davies.

“They would ask them to run a pub if they suspected something was going on there, and so dad would do the investigation while he and mum ran the pub,” he said.

Following this, Mrs Davies turned to working as a cook in a care home. “She started in the care home in her 50s,” Mr Davies said. “Then when she retired properly she started to host bingo nights.

“At first around five or six people would turn up but then up to 30 would turn up. She would charge to play with some of that going back out to the winners and would make cakes and teas which she would sell.

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“She would ask what charities people wanted the donations to go to.”

Mrs Davies also spent her latter years helping others with learning how to save with the credit union and spent years volunteering as a trainer with St John Ambulance – where she met Princess Anne.

In 2018, Mrs Davies was awarded the High Sheriff’s Award. At the time, she said that she would help her mother fundraise when she was a child and Gwent’s then-High Sheriff Sharon Linnard said: “It was an amazing honour to meet Joan. When I met Cllr Debbie Wilcox and told her about the awards without hesitation she nominated Joan.

“She has raised thousands and thousands of pounds for charities in our community and will keep on doing it. She is an outstanding volunteer and we are really lucky to have her.”

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Debbie Wilcox, then leader of Newport City Council and ward member for Maesglas, said at the time how Mrs Davies was a constant in the community.

She said: “The thousands of pounds she has raised for charity is quite remarkable. She has kept the Maesglas centre running, there is literally a handful of us that do it, and without Joan I don’t know what we would do. She is a testament to volunteering a credit to her community.”


Mrs Davies had an IT suite at Maesglas Community Centre named after her, where staff members and users of the centre described her as “Super Joan” and that she had “a heart of gold.”

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“Mum lived a colourful life,” said Mr Davies. “She would get into arguments at Tesco when staff weren’t treated right and they would give her stuff. She wouldn’t be afraid to tell people if they were wrong.

“She didn’t have plenty of money, she lived week to week like most people, but she would always give what she could to anybody.

“She was a real family woman and adored her family.

“Debbie Wilcox said to me it was like the end of an era and that she’s done so much for the community after I told her the news.”

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Mrs Davies was diagnosed with dementia around 18 months ago, however, Mr Davies said he believed she had it for a while longer as she would be forgetting things and recent events but would remember those from years past.

“She could remember by dad dying, which happened when I was 14, but would ask why friends who lived nearby hadn’t been around to see her in a while and I would have to tell her its because they died around a year earlier.”

Mrs Davies had to then give up her bingo but the community took their chance to repay her for all she did.

“She didn’t want to give up the bingo and it killed her when she did eventually have to, but she kept forgetting things," said Mr Davies.

“I was working away a lot but people from the community would pop by to see her and check she was okay. They’d also do shopping for her because she couldn’t really get out much.”

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Members of the Newport community paid tribute to Mrs Davies on social media.