Tragic South Shields gran’s family are doing Boxing Day Dip for charity

The family of Joan Nichols are doing a Boxing Day dip for the Arthritis Association.
The family of Joan Nichols are doing a Boxing Day dip for the Arthritis Association.

The family of a South Tyneside gran who was killed in an Indian rail tragedy are taking the plunge for charity.

Joan Nichols, from Redwell Grove, Marsden, South Shields, died on September 12, when the tourist train she and her husband John, 72, were travelling on between Kalka and Shimla, came off the tracks.

Joan Nichols, the South Shields woman who died when a tourist train crashed in India.

Joan Nichols, the South Shields woman who died when a tourist train crashed in India.

Now 15 loved ones will be taking part in a Boxing Day Dip in South Shields and so far they’ve raised about £1,500 in memory of the 71-year-old.

The cash will be donated to a rheumatoid arthritis charity.

Mrs Nichol’s grand-daughter Paige Dent, 23, came up with the idea for the family to take part in the event.

Her mum, Sharon Dent, 49, from Marsden, South Shields, said: “It was just so tragic what happened to our mam. Then Paige came up with the idea of us all doing the Boxing Day Dip and we thought it would be a nice idea to do something all together in her memory.

We thought it would be nice to do it in mum’s memory.

Sharon Dent

“Mum suffered many years with arthritis.”

She added: “She was often a bit of a guinea pig to0, She often tested out new medications and tablets and things.”

Mrs Nichols worked as a dinner lady in the town before devoting much of her time to volunteer work in her retirement.

Over the last 10 years, the mum-of-three helped out at the Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) in Beach Road, South Shields, and Trinity House Social Centre in Laygate.

The family, including son Mark Nichols, 47, are planning on taking to the water at Seaburn beach on Saturday morning.

Mrs Dent, who is married to husband Kevin, and also mum to Liam, 21, said: “We thought the dip would be another good way to raise cash for the charity.

“At mum’s funeral we held a collection and raised £1,500, which we’ve also donated to charity.”

The cause of the derailment, which was during a tour of India’s Golden Triangle by York-based Great Rail Journeys, is under investigation.

Anyone wanting to sponsor the family should search for Sharon Dent on Facebook and send her a message.