A “determined” pensioner who campaigned heavily for diabetes awareness and better care has passed away aged 86.

Joan Carney was well known in her hometown of Sunderland for debating issues concerning diabetes care.

The former teacher was a mum, grandmother and great grandmother and will be hugely missed by her family.

Speaking to the Sunderland Echo newspaper, Joan’s daughter Karen said: “She had lived and worked in Sunderland for the better part of her life, wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother; telephonist and then teacher. She loved the place and the people.”

Aside from her work, Joan was also a member of the Diabetes Campaigners’ Network.

Karen said: “She had diabetes and would regularly go to meetings around Sunderland for commissioning boards and scrutiny panels.

“She would have debates and write letters concerning diabetes care. She was always determined that her voice would be heard which is exactly what your Letters pages do for ordinary people.

“It is the people who drive this country, electing their representatives to speak for them and good reliable local newspapers play their part in doing just that. Joan always knew the right thing to do, she is dearly missed.”

Joan’s husband, Robert Carney died in 1993 and had been production editor at the Sunderland Echo as well as sub-editor.

Before that he worked for other local newspapers including the Shields Gazette.

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