A cradle Catholic, convent educated, I first recognised inequality aged seven as I watched Mum clean the church brasses and have to leave the altar when the priest entered to consult the lectionary without a word being uttered.
I joined The Grail aged 15 and discovered girl power; it was a revelation to realise just what could be achieved with a neat school uniform and impeccable manners. Although a voracious reader I also found time to experience innocent teenage years in the Cavern. As a student teacher I was encouraged to run the college shop. Mindful of my Grail training I started Grail groups at college and in local schools; helped at Grail Family Holiday Weeks, eventually leading them with my husband; led Grail Teenage Weeks which spawned Grail Young Adults. Supportive priests played a huge role in these enjoyable activities.
My best holiday job was as a Bluecoat, which would not have been possible without the dance classes Mum and Dad had decided that every young lady required along with elocution lessons; they certainly didn’t envisage me dancing on stage with Billy Fury or keeping classroom order in a Liverpool accent. As a teacher I ran dance classes on the lines of Pan’s People after school for latch key pupils. I have taught in Primary and Secondary schools as well as a Secure Unit.
Married with two sons and a grandson I represented RAF Cranwell at the Bishopric of the Forces Pastoral Council and a few years later elected as its first lay Secretary. A Catechist, Reader and Eucharistic Minister for 33 years, I have led Eucharistic Services both at RAF Cranwell Church and at a NATO base when the Padre was unavailable, naturally all with the blessing of various priests. In my village I was invited to join the Anglican Parochial Church Council where I served for a number of years. To my amazement I was awarded the Benemerenti by Pope John Paul II. I was equally shocked at my husband’s duplicity. I never considered he could keep a secret from me or that he had been asked by the clergy to do so.
I have served as the National Board of Catholic Women Diocesan Link for the Armed Forces, the NBCW Grail representative, NBCW Secretary, NBCW President, and am currently its Immediate Past President.