'She made a real difference': Ludlow health campaigner Joyce Brand dies at 86

Joyce Brand, a fierce social justice campaigner and the mother of comedian Jo Brand, has died aged 86.

Joyce Brand
Joyce Brand

Joyce was one of the founding members of Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Defend our NHS, and lived in Ludlow.

A well known voice in Ludlow, Joyce died aged 86 after spending time in hospital when she deteriorated from a mix of complications, including Covid-19.

Gill George, friend and chairman of Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Defend our NHS, said Joyce will be much missed.

"Joyce was an absolutely marvellous woman," she said. "She was warm and compassionate and kind but she was so much more than that.

"When she saw an injustice she was there and took personal responsibility for sorting it. She was a proud campaigner for social justice. She will be much missed."

Gill spoke of the impact Joyce's campaigning had on the local area.

"She was also one of the founding members of Shropshire Defend Our NHS," she said. "She made a real difference. The first campaign we worked on together was in 2012 to keep the doctors surgeries in the centre of the town, when they wanted they moved to the Eco Park.

"We built a magnificent campaign around it. Joyce was an activist and she got stuck in.

"She would have been 87 in March. Physically she had become more frail but mentally she was still sharp."

Andy Boddington, Shropshire councillor for Ludlow north, said Joyce was a strong voice of social justice in Ludlow.

"She was a real character of our town I think," he said.

"She was a determined and, at times, fiery campaigner for social justice."

Joyce grew up as a socialist and a member of the Labour Party living in the south east and moved to Ludlow, where her family was originally based, 20 years ago.

She is survived by her daughter, Jo Brand, 63, who rose to fame as a comedian and son Will Brand, 65. Another son Matt, who lived in Germany, passed away several years ago.

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