Jo Goldie obituary

My friend and former colleague Jo Goldie, who has died aged 95, was a district nurse in the village of South Petherton in Somerset, where she spent her entire career.

She and a nurse, Cynthia Wade, moved to South Petherton in 1957 after completing their nursing training. The idea was to do a two year period before moving on, but they moved into the village, it took them, and they stayed the whole time.

In the beginning, Jo and Cynthia only had 24 hours off a week and would visit people’s homes at a moment’s notice. In the 1950s and 1960s, more than half of the babies born locally were delivered at home by Jo or Cynthia. Many years later, when Jo stood as a candidate for the local district council, she told the local MP, Paddy Ashdown, that she did not need his help in investigating the village because everyone knew her. Paddy insisted on accompanying her but relented after knocking on a few doors. Everyone indeed knew Jo.

She was born in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, to Bernard, who worked at the Milk Marketing Board, and Gladys (née Archard), a housewife.. After attending Weston-super-Mare County School for girls at the age of 16, she began her nursing training, initially in Bath, then at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, followed by training as a midwife in London and Oxford. It was then that she and Cynthia made the move to South Petherton.

In later years Jo was also a church warden in the village and sang in the church choir. As a member of the Women’s Institute, she set up relaxation and mothering skills classes, started a Brownie Pack, helped with guide camps, founded the 60 Club, a social club for the over 60s, and organized tea dances for pensioners.

She was also the first woman to chair South Petherton Parish Council and was elected to the District Council, where I met her in 1987. She also found time to travel the world – from China to Canada, from Australia to India – and was a very committed, caring and sweet aunt to her nieces and their descendants.

Jo loved gardening and often opened her own garden to the public for charity. When she was in her eighties, she fell from an apple tree she was pruning. She drove as fearlessly as she gardened, and owned a succession of vehicles, starting with a Vespa and ending with a mobility scooter (on which she was a demon) through open-top sports cars and camper vans.

She lived independently in her own home until a rough fall in 2023, and in the last few months of her life she said she was ready – off to what she said was another exciting adventure. The epitome of ‘a good and faithful servant’ to her community, Jo touched and improved the lives of many people.

Her brother, Derek, died in 2019. She is survived by her nieces, Alison, Nicola and Kate.