All of our members give enormous support to Mothers' Union in different ways - by prayer, by giving their time or sharing their skills or in many other ways. But a few members really do deserve special recognition for their outstanding commitment to Mothers' Union. One such member is Joyce Crouchman.
Joyce has been our link with Highpoint Prison for many years, giving out Christmas cards made by our Diocesan members, and being a listening ear to any prisoner who wants to talk.
She was presented with a beautiful flower arrangement at our recent AGM, and Val Jeffreys gave this tribute:
For as long as I have known Joyce, she has been a volunteer visitor at Highpoint prison as part of the chaplaincy team.
When there was a women's section at the prison, Joyce with the help of other members opened a Mothers' Union branch. I have no idea how many women have been supported and helped because they were enrolled into this branch, but Joyce will know.
Joyce has brought Highpoint Mothers' Union members to the Cathedral for our Lady Day services, she has also taken women prisoners, who were due for release on shopping trips without the need for a prisoner office to accompany them.
When the women's section closed and moved to another prison, Joyce then spent her time visiting the male prisoners often doing one to one support with very vulnerable scared young men. We have no idea what support or help these men got, but Joyce will know.
She must have made a difference because she has been volunteering at the prison for over 20 years.
When Joyce asked members for Christmas cards for the prisoners, diocesan members offered to make them, I think over 1500 were made last year. Joyce in past years delivered these cards to every prisoner. We know how much they have meant to the men, because of the thank you letters we have received over the years.
We have also provided small wooden holding crosses and small prayer cards for Joyce to give to the men. I and other members along with Joyce have helped to decorate the prison chapels for Christmas. What a wonderful time we had.
Monica Twaits presenting Joyce with flowers at the Diocesan AGM 2016
Over the years Joyce has worked alongside with many prison chaplains, Christian and other faiths and also many governors. They must have asked themselves why does this lady come to prison and support theses prisoners. It was because this was what God asked Joyce to do; Joyce on behalf of the members from St Edmunsdbury and Ipswich Mothers' Union, you have our thanks, love and respect for all you have done over the years.