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INSPIRE Awards 2016: heart for the people

How a retired dinner lady from Peterborough is using her cooking and people skills to reach out to the community ...

How a retired dinner lady from Peterborough is using her cooking and people skills to reach out to the community. By SHARON BARNARD

“A LOT of our church activities rest on her shoulders,” says Jean Houghton who has nominated her 77-year-old friend Joyce Cox for an Inspire Award.

Joyce, who became a Christian at the age of 11, attends Open Door Church in Peterborough. As well as organising the tea rota on Sundays, she leads a ‘Discovery’ group in her home every Wednesday evening.

“It’s for people who are less mentally able,” explains Joyce, a widow and grandmother of five who also cooks for the group.

“We have a meal together – it’s simple English cooking with a main course and a pudding – and afterwards we’ll have a discussion around the sermon on the previous Sunday.

“When it’s someone’s birthday I’ll bake a cake, put a candle on it and give them a card.  One man who comes along said he’d never bothered much with birthdays and didn’t receive cards.  He said it made him feel good.”

But Joyce’s concern for others doesn’t stop there.  Despite suffering from arthritis and diabetes, she’s also to be found serving the church family and community during the rest of the week, although she’s cut down on a number of commitments in recent years.

“On Tuesdays the church runs a coffee morning at a community centre in a former butcher’s shop, close to a housing estate. It’s called Coffee, Cake and Chat and I help by chatting to people. On Thursday afternoons I’m involved with the food bank.”

“For her age and health she’s remarkably active,” says Jean.  “Indeed she is a remarkable person and has her strong faith to keep her going.

“She’s an example to everyone.”

Joyce Cox was nominated for an Inspiring Individual Award by Jean Houghton from Peterborough

You can nominate your unsung hero HERE

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