Wakefield Cathedral honours 96-year-old volunteer

Serving with the WAAF at the RAF Hospital in Northallerton during the Second World War, you’d think nothing much would surprise ninety-six-year-old Joyce Graham.
But she got a big shock on Sunday when she was called to the front of the service in Wakefield Cathedral, presented with a box of flowers and a certificate declaring her Volunteer of the Year.
“It was an unexpected happening,” she confides, before admitting that she has volunteered at the Cathedral for longer than she can remember.
Luckily the Cathedral’s Volunteer Co-ordinators, Jenny Homer, and Ann Ramsay have done a bit of research and reckon on 45 years.
Joyce, from Hemsworth, started as a steward (now called welcomers); until recently she was a flower arranger; and now she volunteers as a sidesperson at the services on Sundays and Wednesdays, and every Monday afternoon, she works in the Cathedral shop where the religious jewellery cabinet is her pride and joy.
Said Joyce: “I love it here, it’s part of my life.
“I came as what we then called stewards. I’ve still got my badge. And after my parents died, I came to live in Wakefield, and there just seems to be that connection.
“My mother would bring me to the Cathedral, it’s where she met my dad, he’d served in the First World War; he taught ballroom dancing. 
“And then I went into the Cathedral shop when it moved into the Treacy Hall and I do love it here; meeting people.
“I didn’t expect to be brought out to the front on Sunday and presented with a box of flowers. There I was sitting on the front row and I had a certificate presented; Volunteer of the Year.
“That would have pleased my parents,’ she said.
Said Jenny Homer: “It’s her quiet commitment; she never seeks praise, she just quietly gets on with it.
“A quiet dignity,” added Ann. “That’s what she is.”
The sub Dean of Wakefield Cathedral, Canon Tony Macpherson, said: “Joyce is a delight, and her dedication to the cathedral and her modesty about all that she does, is a testament to her Christian commitment and her faith in Jesus, and an example to us all.”
Volunteers are the lifeblood of Wakefield Cathedral – without whom the Cathedral would not open seven days a week. The service on Sunday was to say thank you and celebrate all those that volunteer – stewards, welcomers, tomb dusters, cleaners, tea mashers, cake bakers, children’s club leaders, flower arrangers….the list is endless.
Anyone interested in joining the volunteer team; or just finding out more: Contact the Cathedral on 01924 373923 or email volunteers [at] wakefield-cathedral.org.uk

Scroll to Top