Tributes to Joyce: a leading Norfolk Baptist

JoyceJewson2008: A leading member of the Baptist Church in Norfolk and also at national level, Joyce Jewson, has died peacefully at the age of 95.

She was the first woman to be elected president of the Norfolk Association of Baptist Churches and became national president of the Baptist Women's League in 1961.

One of her two sons, the younger, Richard, is the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk and chairman of media company Archant.

Mrs Jewson was one of two daughters of a former minister of St Mary's Baptist Church, in Norwich, Dr Gilbert Laws, then one of the country's principal churches. So, the church played a central role throughout her life. Together with her late husband, Charles, who died aged 71 in June 1981, she was a member and also deacon of the church.

She founded and was secretary of the Norfolk Baptist Women's Federation, which consisted of about 40 groups and missions across the county during her seven-year term of office.

She became the first woman to be elected president of the Norfolk Association of Baptist Churches at the 131st annual assembly at King's Lynn in June 1958, serving again 10 years later. She addressed delegates and members of 44 Baptist churches and missions in Norfolk on the theme of “Family Evangelism.”

She was also an enthusiastic supporter of the Girl Guides and was appointed Commissioner for the Mile Cross District in March 1960. She was responsible for six Guide Companies, five Brownie packs and a Sea Ranger crew in her Norwich district.

A Guider before her marriage, both her daughters, Marion and Ann, became Queen's Guides. In 1963, she became the Divisional Commissioner for Norwich.

She was also heavily involved with charities in the city and county and played a full role as Lady Mayoress. Her husband, of the leading Norfolk family business of timber merchants and importers, Jewson & Sons, was invited to become Lord Mayor of Norwich in 1965. The rules had been changed in the 1960s to allow the city council to elect a Lord Mayor who was not a serving councillor to serve every third year.

Before marriage, she worked in the east end of London as a social worker and one of the reasons she became teetotal was having seen the impact of alcohol abuse on family life.

She spent the last five years of her life at Corton House, Norwich, which is a Christian charity providing care and sheltered accommodation.

She leaves two daughters, Marion and Ann, sons William and Richard, 12 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.

A family cremation will be followed by a service of thanksgiving at Norwich Central Baptist Church, Duke Street, next Tuesday (April 8) at 2.30pm.

Story and picture courtesy of www.edp24.co.uk

Published: 04/04/2008