Outlook 16
News and Views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
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Five minutes with ...
Five minutes with … Mary Parker Regular worshippers at our Sunday morning Eucharist cannot have failed to notice a smiling, charmingly dressed lady, who skilfully manoeuvres her wheelchair to take up a position near the chancel on the north side of the church. Who is she? She is Mary Parker, a very special person, who in recent years has faced extraordinary life-changing challenges. Mary originally trained as a Home Economics teacher, working for twenty years in schools in Harlow and Welwyn Garden City, but in 1985 she changed career. Moving to Ufford, she set up her own catering business, ‘Country Cooking’. Her parents moved to Woodbridge, and with them she enthusiastically joined in the life of St Mary’s, volunteering in the church shop, and offering her services to the coffee team and Sunday crèche. Mary is an ‘ideas’ person with the ability to see them through, and her suggestions for fundraising activities, including a flower festival and a church open day, have been implemented with great success. Using her catering experience and assisted by a willing band of helpers, Mary has prepared Christmas Day lunch in the Church Centre for those who would otherwise be alone. She has also contributed her writing skills, and her engaging reports on church events are keenly appreciated. And, ‘ever since my parents returned from Oberammergau in 1970 with accounts of their awesome experience of the Passion Play,’ says Mary, ‘it was my aim to lead a parish holiday there’. In 2010, after three years of meticulous planning, this is exactly what she did, our first ever parish visit to Oberammergau. On top of all this, she has worked with bereaved adults through Cruse Bereavement Care, adding to her counselling skills and responsibilities with young people within education. ‘But at the centre of my life’, explains Mary, ‘is Charlie, my gorgeous Golden Retriever.’ When major surgery forced her to live in care and be parted from him some eighteen months ago, ‘he became my reason for living, and I was determined to lead an independent life with him once more.’ Thanks to this determination and her amazing courage, upheld by the love, prayers and support of the family of St Mary’s, this dream is about to come true. A wonderful example to us all – we salute you, Mary. Interview by Jill Richardson