Joyce Watson is a former President of the Federation of Essex Women's Institutes, an organisation which at the time included 280 individual Institutes with a combined membership of over 11,000. During her time as President, the Women's Institute was very active in the community, organising meetings and lectures on a variety of issues affecting the local region. In her professional life she was a Physical Education teacher and Head of Physical Education at a London college.In 1997 Joyce Watson was made an Honorary Fellow of the University.
"The Senate of Anglia Polytechnic University has great pleasure in recommending the award of an Honorary Fellowship of the University on Mrs Joyce Watson, President of the Federation of Essex Women's Institutes.
This year marks the centenary of the Women's Institute movement. The movement began in Canada. In 1945 the first United Kingdom Women's Institute was formed. Today there are over 11,500 Institutes in England and Wales with a combined membership of 260,000. In Essex we have 280 Institutes with a membership of 11,000.
The WI has a strong community base. It offers the opportunity for individual members to make friends; gain new knowledge and skills through its college in Oxfordshire and through a grant aided classes scheme. It organises lectures and demonstrations locally. Every member can contribute to the life of the community through local and national projects and by contributing to debate on issues of the day. Each year the members vote on resolutions, which are put to government on issues ranging from the use of chemicals in farming to funding students in higher education.
We see an example of the work of the WI in the community today. The WI has presented the University with the cloth carrying our coat of arms, which you see on the front of the table on the rostrum in the cathedral today. We are very grateful for this gift which helps to embellish the dignity of the occasion.
Joyce Watson, the present Chairman of the Federation of Essex Women's Institutes, epitomises the WI movement. She had a busy career as a teacher of physical education and later as Head of the Department of Physical Education in one of the London Colleges. She has four children and eight grandchildren together with numerous other interests.
This University has as part of its mission service to the local community through extending higher education, economic and cultural support to the communities which we serve in Essex and beyond. It is appropriate that we should recognise the contribution of the Women's Institute in its centenary year. In honouring Mrs Watson we wish to acknowledge the contribution which the Women's Institute has made to the life of the community throughout England and Wales but especially here in Essex.
It is therefore with great pleasure that I invite you, Chancellor, to confer an Honorary Fellowship of the University on Mrs Joyce Watson."