Outlook 24
News and Views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
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Five minutes with … Barbara Stear
There tends to be a strong link between the caring professions and a caring person. You are paid to look after people in some capacity, but you also do the job because it is in your nature; it’s part of what makes you tick as a human being. St Mary’s churchwarden Barbara Stear is a fine example of this connection. Barbara, now in her fourth year as a St Mary’s churchwarden, trained as a midwife before going on to work as a health visitor. She reassured and encouraged members of the community in the same way that she now supports those who come and go at St Mary’s. One of two churchwardens, ‘we are responsible for the way the church runs’, she says. This covers everything from building maintenance and health and safety to who is on duty for church services. It’s also an up-front meet-and-greet role – the welcoming face of St Mary’s on a Sunday and at special events. Part of a family ‘One of the attractions of the job’, says Barbara, ‘is meeting and getting to know people. We’re part of a family at St Mary’s and we help people get a better feel for what is happening when they visit the church.’ Barbara and her husband John moved to Melton from St Albans eleven years ago. ‘We fell in love with Suffolk’, she says, ‘There was a certain pace of life which suited us.’ They had got to know St Mary’s, because their daughter Michelle lived in Woodbridge and was very much involved with the church. Barbara followed suit and has never looked back. Away from churchwardening she enjoys golf – ‘the mental challenge’ – and the sheer variety of being a member of the local WI. A former President of the Deben WI, she has helped with fundraising for charities, such as the Lighthouse which supports battered wives, and has attended national events with speakers such as Julian Fellowes (of Downton Abbey fame), John Humphrys and Griff Rhys Jones. Whatever the occasion, she looks for the best in people – a caring person who cares about life. Nick Cottam