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Women's History Month: Mary Joynson

Release Date: 07 Mar 2018

As part of Women’s History Month, we’re featuring the lives of inspirational women who had pivotal roles in Barnardo’s history.

Mary Joynson

Mary Joynson was born in December 1924 in Bingham, Nottinghamshire. Her father died when she was aged two and soon after she contracted polio. The disease caused lifelong limits on her physical ability.

She attended the London School of Economics between 1943 and 1945; studying social sciences, worked as a welfare officer with Norfolk’s education department, joined Devon's newly created children's department as a senior childcare officer. She left in 1962 to become assistant children's officer in Somerset.

She joined Barnardo's in 1970, as divisional children's officer in the North West.

Joynson was a pivotal figure in the modern development of Barnardo's, which she led from 1973 to 1984. She continued the policy of moving away from residential care and started work with under-fives, laying the ground for the charity's strong emphasis on work with communities and families. She also pioneered ways of recruiting foster and adoptive parents and the placement of children that have now become commonplace.

She was awarded an OBE in 1980 and also served a term as president of the Association of Children's Officers. She died in April 2013.

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