Wiganers turn out in numbers to bid farewell to a much-loved shop worker, 74

A Wigan township’s residents and workers paused to salute one of the most treasured of their number as she made her final journey this week.

Joan Carter wasn’t a millionaire businesswoman or high profile politician who brought about major community changes. But she was beloved by many for the smiles she put on people’s faces.

Much loved: Joan Carter

Much loved: Joan Carter

A retail assistant at Standish Co-op on Pole Street for three decades, the 74-year-old grandmother was one of the most familiar faces in the village.

What better measure of her popularity than the fact that two books of condolence, put out at the store after she died, were completely filled with staff and customer tributes?

And an estimated 330 people squeezed into the church for her funeral on Monday.

Former colleagues lined up outside her workplace and applauded as the hearse bearing Joan’s body slowly passed by and paused before they accompanied it on foot to nearby St Wilfrid’s.

Friends, colleagues and members of the public created a guard of honour outside the Co-op shop, Pole Street, Standish, for the funeral of former Co-op staff member Joan Carter.

Friends, colleagues and members of the public created a guard of honour outside the Co-op shop, Pole Street, Standish, for the funeral of former Co-op staff member Joan Carter.

The service was followed by committal at Charnock Richard crematorium.

Liverpool-born Joan, who came to live in Standish when she married Richard Carter 55 years ago, also leaves children Andrew and Linda, and grandchildren Ashley and Oliver.

She had still been working at the Co-op three days a week up until a few weeks ago but died in late April from the pancreatic cancer with which she had only been diagnosed a fortnight earlier.

For tributes see this week's Wigan Observer.