Blackpool laundry business founder Joan has died

Joan Oldroyd, founder of Blackpool Laundry Company, who has died aged  78
Joan Oldroyd, founder of Blackpool Laundry Company, who has died aged 78
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The business woman who founded one of the county's major laundry businesses has died.

Joan Oldroyd, 78, set up the Blackpool Laundry Company in 1988 when she and her husband Brian were running their own hotel, The Arosa in Empress Drive, but found it difficult to find firms to clean their guest rooms' bedding to a high enough standard.

The family firm now employs around 50 from its base in Moorfields, Bispham, and has customers from hotels such as the Imperial to hospitals on the Fylde coast and beyond to Liverpool and Manchester.

Joan had been suffering ill health for some time, having had a stroke and heart operation in recent years and died from complications linked to sepsis.

Despite having retired from the firm she still acted as an advisor and managing director son Mark said she kept a keen interest despite her health issues.

He said: "She had not been feeling well for quite a while but battled on. She was the type of person who just wanted to keep on working and was officially still the company secretary.

"She had built a real family atmosphere at the company and the staff were devastated to hear of her death. When she started out, she often helped the young mothers who worked for her, sometimes even looking after their babies in an informal creche.

"We have had members of staff who have stayed with us for 20 years, so most knew her well and were upset at the news."

Joan and Brian came to Blackpool from their home town Dewsbury in Yorkshire to open a chip shop next to the No 3 pub in Devonshire Road.

They then took on the Arosa Hotel and it was while running that they saw the gap in the market for a quality laundry operation.

They sold the hotel in 1990 as the laundry business grew.

Joan was a social member of the North Shore golf club and helped Brian with his work in the then Blackpool North Rotary Club.

Mark said she enjoyed charity work with the Rotary Club wives and took part in swim marathons and collecting for Blackpool's hospice in the Houndshill centre.

She leaves husband Brian, sons John and Mark and grand children Lily and Aiden.

The funeral is open to all who knew her and will take place on Wednesday, October 30 at 10.45am at St Stephen on the Cliffs, St Stephen's Road.