Plucky OAP nominated for ‘Oldie’ award

Joan Woolard outside Barclays Bank, Holbeach'Photo:  SG240713-TW
Joan Woolard outside Barclays Bank, Holbeach'Photo: SG240713-TW
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A Holbeach pensioner who hit the headlines when she accused bankers at Barclays of being “a bunch of crooks” has been nominated for the Oldie of the Year Awards.

Joan Woolard (75) received a letter from retired Radio 2 presenter Sir Terry Wogan informing her of the nomination and said: “It was an overwhelming shock, but it’s made my year.”

Mrs Woolard said she has no idea who nominated her, but thinks the exposure she received in April when she attacked bosses at Barclays over their pay policies may have had something to do with it.

She had travelled all the way from Spalding to the bank’s annual meeting in London to condemn the City’s bonus culture.

After lambasting Barclays directors for dishing out seven-figure pay packages, she demanded to know why no bankers had been jailed.

Mocking the new Barclays motto “the go-to bank” she added: “Go-to? Go to hell Barclays! A lot of people regard Barclays and its board as a bunch of crooks.

“My income is £726 a month. I live quite well on that – I don’t understand why anyone needs a million, even to live in London.”

By June she had shamed the bank into rewriting its rules after branding Barclays’ bosses “heartless and inhumane”. She had unable to use her credit card to pay for flowers for husband Duncan’s funeral as it was linked to his account and cancelled by the bank without warning following his death.

Locally, the widow who says she owes everything to her inspirational disabled engineer husband, works tirelessly to give carers of dementia sufferers a break. She runs social drop-in sessions in the WI hall in Holbeach and took a party of 50 to the Thursford Christmas Show in Norfolk.

Starting her career as a secretary and once working at the House of Commons, she has lived in Holbeach for 23 years, having spent 10 years in America. She said: “I’ve done everything except drugs”.

Mrs Woolard will have to wait until the awards ceremony to find out if she has won. It is being held at Simpson’s-in-the-Strand in February and is hosted by The Oldie magazine and its editor Richard Ingrams.

Mrs Woolward said: “I’m really looking forward to it and to meeting Richard Ingrams. He’s someone I’ve always admired from when he was the editor of Private Eye.

“It’s all really exciting.”