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Badsey Mothers’ Union, 1922-2023

After a hundred years of existence, Badsey Mothers’ Union sadly folded in January 2023.

The Mothers’ Union, a Christian organisation, was founded in 1876 by Mary Sumner, wife of the vicar of Old Alresford in Hampshire, with the objects of connecting mothers of all classes in the promotion of a stable family life, to help those mothers whose family life had met with adversity, and to encourage parents to bring up their children in the faith and life of the Church of England.  In 1885 the movement was launched nationally and, before long, overseas as well.

The Badsey Branch of the Mothers’ Union was founded in 1922, with Mrs Frances Holding of Briarlea, Badsey Road, Aldington, as its first leader.  Mrs Holding hailed from Lancashire and had moved to Aldington with her husband and adult son in September 1919.

Mrs Holding died in 1929 at the age of 66 and was greatly missed, not only by members of the Mothers’ Union, but also the Women’s Institute and the Nursing Association.

Throughout the following hundred years the branch has provided fellowship to ladies in the form of regular meetings, as well as supporting various church activities such as fund-raising events.  Certainly in recent year, the annual garden meeting has been much enjoyed.

At present the worldwide Mothers’ Union has around four million members, spread across about 80 countries.  But in south Worcestershire, membership has declined, leading to branch closures in Evesham and several surrounding villages.  The Badsey Branch survived until 2022, the year of its centenary, and a special service was held to celebrate the occasion.  However, at the end of the year, no one was willing to accept the office of branch leader and so, with much regret, a formal resolution to close the branch was passed at the Annual General Meeting on 10th January 2023.

Terry & Sandra Sparrow, March 2023

The first members

The membership book for the years 1922-1928 may be found in The Badsey Society Archive.  The first name on the list was Mrs W J Anderson, Malvern House, who joined on 31st December 1922.  Within half a year of its foundation, over 40 women had joined the Mothers’ Union.  These were:

  • Mrs J Holding, Briarlea
  • Mrs W J Anderson, Malvern House – joined 31/12/22
  • Mrs P J Bayliss, Bretforton Road – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs W Bennett, Belmont Terrace – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs W Byrd, Cotswold View – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs H Cave, Cotswold View – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs W Collett, Linwood Villa – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs E Crisp, Post Office – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs B Cockerton, 1 Synehurst – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs E Collett, Sands Lane – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs J Dore, Badsey Fields Lane – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs Emms, The Mill – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs H Green, Church View – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs Harwood, Badsey Fields Lane – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs F Herbert, Cotswold View – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs Geoffrey Jones, Norfolk House – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs E Jones – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs A Keen – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs G Knight, Belmont Terrace – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs J E Knight, Fairview – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs G Marshall – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs E Morris, Synehurst – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs J Pethard – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs H Reed – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs T Sears, Bretforton Road – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs L Sparrow, South View Terrace – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs W Sparrow, Synehurst – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs W Stanford, Sands Lane – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs Woodward, Cotswold View – joined 2/2/23
  • Mrs H Agg, Belmont Terrace – joined 14/3/23
  • Mrs T Careless, T Cull’s Cottages – joined 14/3/23
  • Mrs Grove, The Green – joined 14/3/23
  • Mrs R Hartwell – joined 14/3/23
  • Mrs Hayward, The Royal Oak – joined 14/3/23
  • Mrs Cecil Keen – joined 14/3/23
  • Mrs E Mustoe – joined 14/3/23
  • Mrs Waldron – joined 14/3/23
  • Mrs Allard, High Street – joined 2/5/23
  • Mrs A Ballard, Badsey Fields Lane – joined 2/5/23
  • Mrs H Ingram, The Bungalow – joined 2/5/23
  • Mrs T Keen, Synehurst – joined 2/5/23
  • Mrs T Knight, Cotswold View – joined 2/5/23
  • Mrs Murray, Bretforton Road – joined 2/5/23
  • Mrs A Sears, Plas Gwyn – joined 2/5/23

Mrs Holding was ill and confined to her bedroom for a few years before her death in 1929, so leadership of the Mothers’ Union would have been undertaken by someone else.  Only a few names were added after 1923.  Whether this was because there were few new members or because the new membership secretary did not keep the book up-to-date is unknown.  These are the names added in 1924-1928:

  • Mrs W Ballard, Badsey Fields Lane – joined 14/4/24
  • Mrs Kelland – joined 16/4/24
  • Mrs Lock, Bretforton Road – joined 16/4/24
  • Mrs W Sadler – joined 1/12/26
  • Mrs T Hartwell, Silk Mills – joined 6/12/28
  • Mrs Bott, Silk Mills – joined 6/12/28
  • Mrs Austin Jones, Benge Fields – joined 6/12/28
  • Mrs C Sparrow, Brewer Road – joined 6/12/28

One of the people who joined in 1923 was Mrs Allard of High Street, Badsey.  This was Sarah Ann Allard who, when she died in 1957 aged 73, was described as one of the oldest members of the Mothers’ Union. Members of the MU lined the church path as the cortege entered the church for her funeral. 

Mothers Union biblePresentation Bible

It used to be the practice for the Mothers’ Union to present a bible to couples getting married at St James’ Church.  The presentation of bibles was discontinued some years ago, but Peter and Julie Stewart of Evesham still have theirs.  Peter and Julie were married at St James’ Church on 23rd March 1963.  They will shortly be celebrating their Diamond Wedding anniversary later this month.  Peter wonders how many of these Bibles from the Badsey Mothers' Union still exist today.

Maureen Spinks, March 2023

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