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Macmillan challenge will bring joy to Stapehill widow Joy Pilstead

By Stour & Avon Magazine  |  Posted: May 06, 2013

Joy Pilsted in her garden.

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WHEN Joy Pilsted's husband Mike died of cancer in Forest Holme Hospice in November 2011, she was understandably bereft

However, the 71-year-old has now found a new lease of life and later this year she plans to take part in a hike in Jordan to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support to say thank you for the incredible palliative care Mike received.

However, not only is Joy looking forward to the adventure which will include walking for up to nine hours a day over a six day period in desert and mountain terrain, she is enjoying fundraising for the expedition.

"I have to raise £3,300 of which 64 per cent will go to Macmillan," she said. "Anything I raise above that amount, will also go to the charity."

A Burns Night, with a haggis donated by Wimborne butcher Paul Keating was a great success and so far Joy has raised £700.

And the next fundraiser is a Companion Dog Show to be held at Hurn Bridge Equestrian Centre on Saturday 11th May from 10.30am.

There will be pedigree and novelty classes and free entry for best fancy dress and best tricks. There will also be a barbecue and hog roast.

"I hate asking people for money, but it is giving me a real challenge to raise funds," said Joy.

In was in October 2012 that Joy opened a newspaper to see details of the expedition which takes place from 12th-20th October this year.

"The journey is from Amman to Petra. I had never been to Petra but Mike had, and was always talking about it," said Joy.

"I had never done anything like that before, and needed something to take me out of my comfort zone," she said adding that she still can't bear to visit places that were special to them as a couple.

When Joy consulted her GP to see if he felt she was fit enough for the adventure which would see her camping at night in tents and with no home comforts, he said 'this is your light at the end of the tunnel. Go for it'.

Mike's roots were very firmly entrenched in the area.

His grandfather was butler to the 9th Earl of Shaftesbury and his grandmother was the housekeeper.

"In those days, servants in households couldn't marry and they feared they would lose their jobs," explained Joy.

However, the couple must have been held high in the Earl's esteem as he had The Bull at Wimborne St Giles built for the couple to live in and run.

"It was supposed to stay in the Plested family and to never have a seven-day licence, but sadly that didn't happen," said Joy.

However, Mike did spend most of his childhood living with his grandparents at the pub.

He went on to take a course at Kingston Maurward college, and ended up being farm manager at Stapehill Abbey.

"He was the only male allowed in the nuns' quarters," said Joy.

When the nuns left more than 20 years ago, the Abbey became a tourist attraction, but has since closed.

As part of the job, Mike was provided with a cottage near to the Abbey and this is where Joy still lives today.

After starting up a chauffeur business the couple subsequently built up a business with 4,000 free range chickens.

But back to the dog show.

Declan McConville the Roman Catholic chaplain at Poole Hospital is to judge the fancy dress and best trick class and a Macmillan nurse will present the best in show rosette.

For more details contact Joy on 01202 897034 (evenings) or email: joyplested293@btinternet.com

Other charity events to be organised by Joy include an Indian evening at the Cinammon Lounge in Woodlands on 30th May and a Wimbledon themed event in June.

If you are interested in any of these events or would like to donate to Joy's fundraising see www.justgiving.com/joy-plested

Marilyn Barber

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