New-look play area at GP surgery a lasting memorial to gran

The Oxford Times: Joan Waller Joan Waller

WHEN Joan Waller died in March her family did not want flowers at her funeral.

Instead they asked people to make a donation to her local GP practice in Witney to say thank you for caring for her.

With the £389 they raised, the Deer Park Medical Centre was able to completely redecorate its children’s play room in a Jungle Book theme and fill it with new books toys and furniture.

This week the health centre officially unveiled the new play room with Mrs Waller’s family.

Mrs Waller’s daughter Jackie Waller, who lives in Wantage, said: “I think it is amazing.

“The medical centre supported mum so much, nothing was too much trouble when she was ill, so we wanted to give something back to them.

“Mum loved anything to do with children, so she would have loved what they have done.”

The Oxford Times:

  • Front from left, Joan’s husband Bob, grandaughter Lucy Waller, nine, Dr Raj Kohli, Sharon Donnelly, who painted the murals, and Jackie Waller, far right, with staff, family and friends at the official opening of the new look play room at the Deer Park surgery

When Mrs Waller died of heart problems, aged 89, she had more than 20 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Practice doctor Raj Kohli said at the ceremony that the colourful mural lifted children’s spirits, which made his job easier as well.

The mural was painted by the practice’s prescriptions manager Sharon Donnelly.

Before she became housebound, Mrs Waller visited the health centre several times each week.

Lead receptionist Janet Boyle said: “When she had to stop visiting she was quite sad.

“Joan loved children and when she came in she always watched the children playing, so we decided this would be a fitting tribute.”

Mrs Waller’s husband Bob contributed £100 for a plaque with her name on it to be added to the medical centre mural.

The Oxford Times:

  • The plaque

Mr Waller, 92, who has recently taken up Korean martial arts, said: “Deer Park has always been very good to us.

“They do a fantastic job, the staff and doctors are wonderful.”

Mrs Waller was born in Warwickshire in May 1923.

She met her future husband Bob at a tea dance in Standlake in 1944 when he returned home from war service.

They were married the next year and lived in Standlake.

They had six children, Eileen, Raymond, Theresa, Tommy, Robert and Jackie, and Mrs Waller was a full-time mother to them while Mr Waller worked in various jobs around the county.

Mrs Waller’s funeral was held at St Kenelm’s Church in Minster Lovell, near Witney, where the couple lived.

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