Jean Arnold, an active member of the Eastbourne community who was given just hours to live when she was born, has died at the age of 77.
Jean was born with spina bifida, a condition that involves a fault in the development of the spinal chord, leaving a gap in the spine. Despite being told she wouldn’t survive, Jean defied doctors to reach the ripe age of 77, spending much of her life in a wheelchair.
Jean lived in Eastbourne for 67 of her years and did a lot of good work for various local and national charities, as well as attending meetings to represent people with disabilities in the town.
She was a founder member of the M.O.R.E Club (Middle of the Road Eastbourne) and served on its committee from its inception. The M.O.R.E Club recognised the need for social events for middle-aged residents with mobility problems and set up the club as a chance for them to make friends and enjoy things such as theatre visits, shopping trips, dog racing, bingo and quizzes.
Jean married in her 20s but after becoming a widow, she remained in her bungalow at Hampden Park and continued to play an active role in the local community. Her last two years were spent in Inglewood Nursing Home, where she was well-cared for by staff.
In memory of Jean, her friends held a cream tea party to raise money for the Sussex Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus.
Jean’s friend Shirley McCall said, “As Jean and I held several garden party functions, I thought it was fitting to organise one in her memory with all funds raised going to SASBAH.
“I contacted the general manager Rom Sanglaji and his team and together we arranged ‘A Cream Tea in Memory of Jean’ on Saturday, July 19. We had some very willing volunteers who worked tirelessly through the morning and afternoon.
“Tickets were sold for a cream tea, which consisted of two scones with butter, jam and cream and a slice of home-made cake. During the afternoon, we were entertained by a group of belly dancers and then one of our neighbours kindly played some tunes on his violin to end our afternoon of entertainment. It was a great pleasure to be able to give the total sum raised of £514 to SASBAH.” Charity.