The Croydon Advertiser has reported that “A woman fondly known locally as the ‘The Croydon Running Lady’ has had a fitting tribute paid in her memory. In a ceremony put on by East Croydon Community Organisation, Joan Pick had a tree planted in her name near to where she used to live in Addiscombe on Wednesday morning (May 24).
Miss Pick, from Turnpike Link, Addiscombe, passed away after a battle with oesophageal cancer on January 29, aged 76. She was a passionate environmental campaigner, devoting her life to preserving natural resources and had not used hot water, heating or a fridge since 1973.
Her nephew and sister-in-law were in attendance, as well as councillor Patricia Hay-Justice, who represents the Addiscombe ward, who attended to pay her respects at the planting in Bisenden Road. Cllr Hay-Justice called Miss Pick a ‘remarkable citizen’ of Croydon.
She said: ‘The community of East Croydon has come together with the council to mark the life of Joan Pick in the finest way possible. Joan was a remarkable citizen of Croydon, who campaigned tirelessly for a sustainable economy. The lime-tree planted will add welcome greenness to our local street scene, and it will not only gladden future generations but also inspire them to continue the work which Joan started.’
Jerry Fitzpatrick, who first got in touch with Miss Pick’s nephew, Chris Pick, 39, about planting the tree also paid tribute to his former neighbour, hailing her as ‘a source of practical help and kindness.’
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Fitzpatrick said: ‘Joan was a Croydon character and there is nothing wrong with that. Probably, she was Croydon’s most famous resident. Not everyone knew Joan’s name, but most Croydonians who even occasionally left their own home were aware of the lady in a tracksuit who used to overtake them on the foot way. That’s the lady who runs’, children would say to their parents, and thus she has her place in Croydon history as ‘The Running Lady’.
‘But we are not commemorating Joan as a character or eccentric. We are commemorating the reason why she ran, why she mothballed her car in 1972, why she refused to use public transport, why she used a manual typewriter of considerable vintage, why – however ill and exhausted she was towards the end – she ran up to six miles a day.’
Chris Pick said the reaction to his auntie’s death had ‘floored’ the family, and they saw the tree as a fitting tribute to the environmental campaigner. He said: ‘We thought it was a great idea and a great way to remember her. It really seems like a fitting tribute. I think the whole family was floored by how much of an impact she has had. Being able to learn a little bit more about her story has been really nice.’