Hundreds of friends, family members and supporters turn out to Joan Harding's benefit

Story and photos by Jim Brown
You are truly blessed in life if you have many friends. And that’s certainly the case in spades for Joan Harding.

It was turn away crowd at the New London Community Complex on April 6 for a benefit thrown by an army of volunteers, many of whom were friends and family of Joan, to help cover her health care related expenses. Cars jammed the parking lot and were parked on the road on both sides of the complex.

So many people attended several had to be turned away, including parents who brought their young children with them, since children under 19 were not allowed inside. It was difficult finding a chair to sit on to enjoy an impressive lineup of musical entertainers or to take a break from looking at long tables filled with scores of donated auction items.
Joan was unable to attend, since she was in Charlottetown receiving treatment for cancer.

Audrey Paynter and Dick MacDonald donated more than $500 in winnings from the evening’s 50/50 draw to their dear friend, Joan Harding.

Among the 300 or so people who attended was a couple soon to be married, who travelled all the way from Cornwall. Dick MacDonald and Audrey Paynter donated 50/50 winnings of $520 from the evening’s draw to their dear friend. The two are longtime friends with Joan, who helped Audrey through her own battle with cancer.
“She came to see me when I was fighting cancer, so we have to come and do these things for her now when it’s her turn,” said Audrey, who sang at the benefit.
“We donated it to a great friend. Joan’s been a buddy of mine and Dick’s for many, many years,” she said.
“She is a good friend of many, many people, that’s why this place is overfilled tonight,” said Audrey.
Joan Harding is employed at the New London recycling facility and is the treasurer of the Stanley Memorial Society, which has operated a farmer’s market at the Stanley Bridge Centre for the past several summers, as well as hosting history circles, musical shows and other events.