One of my tasks in my new job is to open the mail which means I get to see lots of interesting stamps. One that caught my eye was one which had an image of Joan Mary Fry. The stamp was launched in February 2012 celebrating Britons of Distinction. This glimse of History in an otherwise mundane day of admin sparked an interest to find out what made Joan Mary Fry a Briton of distinction.
Fry was born on 27th July 1862 in London. Her father was the Judge Sir Edward Fry and her brother was Roger Fry who was part of the Bloomsbury Group. The Fry’s were Quakers and this upbringing clearly help shape the person Joan became and path in life.
During the First World War (1914-18) Ms Fry worked as a chaplin in a Quaker prison that held Conscientious Objectors who also helped the men who were pacifists on religious grounds with their tribunals.
In 1910 this Briton of Distinction gave the Swarthmore Lecture. This took place at the Quakers London Yearly meeting and the speech was entitled “The Communion of Life”
After the war Joan went to Weirmar Germany giving the defeated Germans relief and aid with other Quakers. She worked there in that capacity for 7 years.
In the inter war years from 1926 Joan worked in the UK helping the unemployed and poverty stricken.
As well as tirelessly giving to those less well off this amazing lady also has family responsibilities when her sister in law (Helen Coombe) who married her brother Roger was institutionalised she stepped in and helped her brother raise his children.
If she hadn’t achieved enough she also had several articles published including articles on Weirmar Germany.
Joan Mary Fry died on 25th November 1955 at the grand old age of 93.
So I thank you Royal mail for bring this truly inspirational woman to my attention – she the absolute definition of a Briton of Distinction!