TRIBUTES have been paid to a "truly incredible" Kidderminster-born woman who has died in Canada at the age of 93.

Joan Etherington, who previously ran her own fishery business on Offmore Road, became a foster parent in later life after moving across the Atlantic.

Joan, the daughter of Mary Anne and Thomas John Hartwell, lived most of her youth at 76 Cherry Orchard, although she was born at 26 Oxford Street.

The family lived on Tomkinson’s Drive where new houses were being built by the town, and then they moved to Aggborough Crescent on the Worcester Road.

“My mom was quite the storyteller,” her eldest daughter Lisa Etherington-Runions said.

“My mom had many stories about Kidderminster that she shared with my sister Jane and I when we were growing up. We were fortunate to be able to see how remarkable her hometown was on our trips to England as children.”

At the age of 20, Joan got a job working for the Air Ministry in Hartlebury. It is here that she met her husband, Vernon Etherington, who was in the Royal Air Force during the War.

Kidderminster Shuttle: Joan and Vernon Etherington Joan and Vernon Etherington

They opened their own business, Offmore Fisheries on Offmore Road.

In 1954 the couple set their sites on Bournemouth and established a bed and breakfast there until they immigrated to Canada in 1957.

Lisa said: “The immigration boom was on and my parents were adventurous, so they settled first in Toronto, and then later in Cornwall, Ontario where my mom’s sister Marie was living with her family.

"Over the years they made several trips back home to England and in the last few years before my dad died, they did Transatlantic cruises on the Queen Mary II, with my mom’s most recent visit with me in 2011. My father sadly passed away in 2010 at the age of 90.”

Joan and Vernon became foster parents to over 35 children over a twenty-year period. Vernon worked for a British firm, BCL, and upon retirement they became host parents to foreign students.

Kidderminster Shuttle: The Etheringtons visit Kidderminster in 1972The Etheringtons visit Kidderminster in 1972

Lisa added: “They had students from China, Japan, Brazil, Nigeria, Iran, Vietnam and India just to name a few.”

“Upon my mom’s passing she still had four young men from India living with her. She was truly an incredible woman.

"Joan will be remembered for her generosity and love of life. She was a down to earth woman of great faith and conviction.

"She magically enlightened the world around her with positivity, kindness, patience, empathy, and spirituality and she was loved by all who met her. Joan was a loyal monarchist, philanthropist, storyteller, yard sale and thrift store enthusiast, who loved a good bargain, and she was a lottery ticket buyer.

“I smile when I think of the weekly trips I made to pick up her lottery tickets. Her goal was to win the million and what a dreamer she was.

"She lived for the time spent with her children and grandchildren, Rebecca, Sarah and Patrick.

“Her heart was always in England, and I suspect that is where she is now.”

Her family, host students and former foster children were able to spend time with her before she passed away on September 13.

In 2015, a Member of Parliament at the Canada Day celebrations presented her with the Senior Citizen of the Year award.