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Joan Grant: Corbyn joins salutes to teacher who cared

Islington North MP says Joan Grant, who spent hundreds of hours volunteering in Islington schools, was a ‘good friend in the Labour Party’

09 August, 2019 — By Emily Finch

Joan Grant moved to London from Suriname in 2003

FOR Joan Grant, her life-long mission was to care for others.

After moving from Suriname, South America, to London in 2003, she jumped headfirst into volunteering and looking after her mother and sister.

Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn paid tribute to his “good friend in the Labour Party” this week after Joan died last month, aged 56.

Joan, who lived on the Andover estate in Finsbury Park, was a geography teacher in her native Suriname and was training to teach in British Sign Language when she died from breast cancer.

She had found a home in the Labour Party after moving to England and was assisted by Mr Corbyn when she was threatened with deportation in 2005.

They stayed friends and Joan became a familiar face at Labour meetings in north Islington and at various community events where she would always be there to lend a hand.

Mr Corbyn told the Tribune: “She was always caring for people and looking after the needs of others. She was always studying to improve her abilities and campaigning, too. She wanted to make a positive contribution and volunteered at various schools.”

Joan was a committed member of Islington Carers, which is a support hub for those looking after people who are frail, disabled or mentally unwell.

Shirley Franklin, from the Defend the Whittington campaign, which Joan was a member of, remembered her friend as a “warm person who was one of the most thoughtful people I have known”.

Joan enjoyed teaching the most and spent hundreds of hours volunteering as a teaching assistant in various Islington schools.

Her sister, Saskia, said: “She was a girl that liked to be around people and learn. She liked to interact with people and care for them. And she also liked to read books and educate herself through docu­mentaries and films.”

A funeral took place for Joan at Islington Crematorium, East Finchley, yesterday (Thursday).

Joan died on July 23 at UCH, Euston. She leaves behind her mother Eva, her siblings Saskia, Edward, Monique and other family members.

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