A Tribute to Sister Joyce Louisa Rawkins

Joyce died on Wednesday the 12th June 2019 after a few days in Addenbrookes Hospital, and she will be so sadly missed by everyone who knew her and that is a vast number of people. This includes so many of the folk that read this publication as well as countless others in many parts of our country. I recall that whenever I showed slides of my long walks in various parts of our country she often said “I have preached in that Methodist Church”. Very often when my wife Margaret and I are enjoying a holiday at one of the Christian Guild Hotels we meet folk that knew Joyce. Indeed at Willersley Castle in Cromford Derbyshire we frequently see a couple – Peter and Jennie Binks who were married in Derby when Joyce was at that Methodist Church; their wedding reception was to be held in the Church Hall, but Joyce was so ashamed of the curtains in that building that she made new ones specially for that occasion.

Joyce was in her 90th year and in that life time she had helped so many people, never refusing any request for assistance. She always liked to help the “old folk” in any way that she could, in spite of the fact that most of them were younger than she was – by 20 years in some cases. Many folk thought that she was a Living Saint! She was ordained as a Wesley Deaconess in the Methodist Church at a young age, and served in so many Churches throughout England. She was appointed to the Littleport Methodist Church in the Ely Circuit in 1984 until her retirement in 1991. The Church greatly benefitted from her leadership as did the other Methodist Churches in the Ely Circuit. During the period of her ministry in the village she often walked to the railway station early in the morning so that she could walk back greeting the commuters who were walking to catch their train. When she retired she continued to live in our village, and she preached in various Churches almost every Sunday until recently. She also continued to lead the Women’s’ Fellowship in the Methodist Church Hall every Tuesday afternoon; and did this until a couple of years ago.

Joyce was a founder member of The Littleport Society, which was formed in the Methodist Church Hall on the 20th March 1987 and she immediately volunteered to serve on the Committee, which she did so faithfully until our May meeting this year at the end of which she said she would resign but that she would continue to help at the Open Meetings. For these Meetings she had always collected the key to the Village Hall and always tried to be there by 6.30 p.m. in order to prepare the kitchen for the refreshments having taken the milk and biscuits with her in readiness. She was such a good organiser.

In May this year she gave me a letter in which she showed her great appreciation of the help and assistance she has received in recent years when she was unable to walk very well and her health was deteriorating. She mentions especially Tony and Jean Murfitt, John and Brenda Harrison, Ian and Phyllis Rose, and Margaret and I – she was so very grateful.

We extend our very sincere condolences to Joyce’s nieces Elizabeth, Ann and Janet, her nephew Peter and their families.

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