Tributes paid to Norwich Mothers' Union president

The Diocese of Norwich Mothers’ Union has announced the sad death of its "dedicated" President, Val Ovenden. Past President Marguerite Phillips pays tribute.

A longstanding member of Mother’s Union, Val joined  the Horning Branch when she moved to the area over 20 years ago and later became a Diocesan Member. Before taking on her role of Diocesan President, Val was both an Area Leader for Broadland and a General Trustee.  As such she was a vital link for the members in Broadland for whom she organised regular meetings, thus maintaining a strong fellowship in that area.
Val was a quiet, very  private person and above all faithful in prayer.  She had a gentle quality as a caring and deeply faithful Christian and yet an inner strength which enabled her to take on the role of President shortly after the death of her husband Reg, for whom she had cared for a number of years.  She saw this as an opportunity for a new beginning, a new calling.
In 2019, Val could not have envisaged such a tough three years.  Orthopaedic surgery made it hard for her to get to national meetings, but she led us at all our diocesan gatherings at St Luke’s and then faced the challenge of holding us together on Zoom.  Her background in computing meant that she was more adept at this than most of us.
Passionate about the worldwide mission of members to support families in adversity and to care for all families in whatever circumstances they find themselves, Val encouraged our members to  continue the help for refugees in our Diocese from Syria and recently Afghanistan. With our Diocesan Projects supporting disadvantaged local  families with holidays by the sea and the provision of Christmas gifts for prisoners’ children at HMP Watton.  In addition, she embraced the new Mothers’ Union links with the Clewer Initiative bringing attention to and combating modern slavery.
Above all Val will be remembered for her dedication to the welfare of the poorest and disadvantaged the world and for the quiet and gracious example she set us.
Just as we were about to escape the Zoom room and meet again in person, Val was looking forward to the next three years, having only recently been re-elected. Her passing leaves the members and the trustee board in a state of shock.
And so, as we give thanks for all that Val did on our behalf in the knowledge that she is at peace in God's loving arms, we pray earnestly for God's guidance on the trustees as they seek to find a new leader.

Picture of Val Ovenden courtesy of Diocese of Norwich.

Please add your memories of, and tributes to, Val below. 

Published: 24/09/2021