Caritas was sad to learn of the recent death of Marjorie Dyson MBE. Marjorie has been a leading volunteer, serving Catholic Family Care for over fifty years. Her life has been one of service to her community and to families, especially where children needed that extra help to be turned out smartly for school.
Mark Wiggin, Director of Caritas, remembers when he first met Marjorie over ten years ago, when Catholic Family Care was based at St Patrick’s Old School in Collyhurst, alongside the St Vincent de Paul Society. “Marjorie,” he recalls, “appreciated the importance of school uniforms for children. I remember her telling me that fitting in at school was key to each child’s personal development and good clothing, especially a smart school uniform, give them pride and confidence in themselves.”
When St Patrick’s Old School closed, Marjorie and her trustee team of volunteers moved to St Boniface’s School in Salford, where the Head Teacher offered them free access to an office and an annex building to store their clothing items. School children volunteers from St Boniface particularly enjoyed helping to prepare the ‘layettes’ – bundles of blankets, towels and baby clothes – that were prepared for young mums, especially those in our community homes in Bolton and Blackburn.
In existence since 1886, Catholic Family Care owes its origins to the Catholic Needlework Guild, a national organisation that supplied new and warm clothing for those who, through unfortunate circumstances, were unable to provide for themselves or their families. The Guild first became a part of Catholic Children’s Rescue Society under the then director Fr Bernard Wilson, and in turn part of Caritas Diocese of Salford.
Originally, members were asked to make an annual donation of two items of new clothing and fifty pence. The resulting funds and items were then used to respond to the many requests that come via reliable sources such as the SVP, teachers, health visitors and district nurses. Beneficiaries could be anyone in need, from schoolchildren and families, to the elderly and housebound, refugees or prisoners, often individuals who might have otherwise slipped through the support net. Over the years the schools in the diocese and Caritas services such as our Young Parents Units has benefitted from this excellent service as has Out There, supporting families where a member is serving a prison sentence.
Catholic Family Care continues to work on a membership system and also a voucher system that allows for families to choose and buy their own new clothes and shoes. Today the service is based at St Ann’s, Ashton, and is run by Teresa Burns.
Marjorie passed away on February 10th and is survived by her children, grandchildren and great grandson. Eternal Rest, grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she Rest in Peace. Amen.