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Joan Murray - Central Committee Member


Name: Joan Murray
Branch: Norton
County: Durham
Voluntary Position: Central Committee Member

Joan Murray has been a member of The Women’s Section for over 50 years. Encouraged to join the WS by her mother who was a founding branch member, Joan now has two daughters and a granddaughter following in her footsteps and carrying on the family legacy.

Why did you decide to join The Women’s Section?  I was encouraged by my mother who was a long term member of Billingham Branch and it was a good opportunity to meet new people. I also used to serve in the WRAF so it was a cause I knew was worthwhile supporting.

Do you hold any official positions in the Women’s Section?  I’ve been Branch Treasurer since 1975 and I currently serve as Group 5 Secretary, Treasurer, and Vice-President of Durham and North Yorkshire County. I also serve on the Women’s Section Central Committee.

What is Central Committee and what does your role as a Central Committee Member involve?  Central Committee is the governing body of The Women’s Section and it determines the overall strategic direction and management of the organisation. Each member represents a regional membership area and it’s their duty to represent the views of counties and branches within their region and advise them on all relevant matters.

What do you enjoy most about the role?  Visiting the counties in my region, hearing what fundraising initiatives they’ve been doing and encouraging them to continue their hard work. I also enjoy meeting up with other Central Committee Members for our quarterly meetings in London and keeping up the great friendships we've formed over the years.

What’s the biggest challenge?  Encouraging counties and branches to continue their commitment to the organisation by recruiting younger members - it’s not an easy task but it is essential for us to continue our support to those in need.

What qualities/skills does a good Central Committee member need?  A good Central Committee member is someone who can interact with a variety of people and represent their views in a tactful and diplomatic way. They need to have good people skills, be well organised and ultimately care passionately about what we do and how we can better serve our members and beneficiaries.  They must also be knowledgeable and conversant with The Women’s Section Bye-Laws and Handbook. A sense of humour doesn't go amiss!

Why would you encourage others to step up?  Serving on Central Committee is a fantastic way to directly contribute to the way in which our organisation is governed. If you’re passionate about what we do and have new ideas about how we can improve our services then it’s a great opportunity to consider.

Why is it important that we support the Armed Forces family, especially wives, spouses and dependants?  Whilst Service personnel are in the Armed Forces, whether involved in conflicts around the world or serving in home bases, their families, especially those abroad, need our support - not always financial support but sometimes just a friendly face or a shoulder to lean on in difficult situations, especially if their loved ones are far from home in dangerous conditions.