Cancer might have taken Joan Purdie’s life but it never broke her spirit.
That was the thought running through the minds of many of the six hundred or so mourners who packed Carluke’s St Andrew’s Church to pay their final respects to her last Wednesday.
And ‘respect’ is a very apt word, given that, despite facing almost certain death, she did so without a trace of self-pity, anxious to the end to keep up the spirits of those around her.
She even made most of the arrangements for her own funeral shortly before her death, an act her father-in-law Jim Purdie described this week as “just typical of Joan, wanting to save others any fuss and bother”.
He went on to say on behalf of the family: “We just want to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts to everyone who played a part in the funeral and, before that, in the efforts to raise the money for Joan’s treatment. Someone even brought along some white doves to be released at the grave last Wednesday. It was little, thoughtul touches and gestures like that which count - and there were plenty of them last week.”
These gestures were made in recognition of Joan’s good-humoured courage over the past two years, battling a rare form of the dreaded disease which defied every conventional treatment her doctors could throw at it.
Eventually, last year, there was just one slim hope left for the 53-year-old wife of local stockcar ace Kenny Purdie, an experimental new treatment so untried that it had yet to be sanctioned for funding by the NHS.
A fundraising campaign was launched by the Purdies and Joan’s many friends, the first event alone raising over £60,000. The family will shortly decide a cause Joan would have supported to donate the remaining funds to.
Joan lost her brave battle a fortnight ago and at her funeral a white, horsedrawn hearse took her to the kirk packed with the hundreds wishing to pay tribute to a true woman of courage.