Although many will have known Joan more closely and for longer than I, the fact that she touched so many people’s lives makes her passing all the more poignant for me.

Although she first came to Albufeira in 1967, she didn’t move permanently until 1972. I first met her in 1975 when she would provide beautiful flower arrangements and herbs for The Galeão Bar, which she cultivated at her home in Branqueira.

Joan was also one of that increasingly rare breed – a true Christian. A former ear, nose and throat specialist, she would willingly give medical advice and help to anyone who came to her. Although retired for many years, many still referred to her as Dr Pearson. She showed great concern for those who came into contact with her and rarely spoke ill of anyone. It may sound trite, but Joan was one of the few really ‘good’ people I knew.

Her husband, Geoff, whom she met in the Algarve, died last year. Joan suffered a fall recently from which she never really recovered, and died at the age of 87, leaving a daughter, Jean. We kept in contact after I left the Algarve and I shall miss her warm, comforting words of wisdom in what has become a largely uncaring world.

By Mike Johnson