Meet Cherry Fancourt and Freda Broadbent

Freda and Cherry are on The Mall for the Patron’s Lunch after being nominated for their active volunteering in the sphere of marriage preparation in their diocese. 

Both Freda and Cherry were one of the first members of Mothers’ Union to be trained as marriage preparation group facilitators through Mothers’ Union’s Loving for Life programme. They began to work alongside their vicar at the time, Revd Matthew Pollard, to help couples marrying in the church to prepare for life together as a married couple. Through their sessions, entitled “Smoothing the way” they helped couples think ahead to some difficulties  they might face as a married couple – finance, emotions, children, step-children, wider family, career-moves – and discuss how they might communicate with each other effectively at these times.  Through their our own groups we’ve helped about 35 couples. 

But a big part too of their passion, has been to communicate to others the value of marriage preparation and to encourage others to train as facilitators so that more couples could be reached. Their advocacy has led to three more churches in the area offering marriage preparation. 

In November last year, Cherry and Freda also organised a training of Loving for Life facilitators in their own church at Rastrick. This initiative led to the training of ten new facilitators: their new vicar Revd Maron Russell, and three people who had previously been to the “Smoothing the Way” sessions preparing for their own marriages. They had found the marriage preparation so valuable and enjoyable that they were keen to be involved in offering marriage preparation to other couples.  Jane, Louisa and Jaz have now led two sessions and are planning a third. 

Cherry also volunteers in an additional Mothers’ Union project, visiting New Hall Prison and working with Asylum Seekers through the St Augustine’s Friendship Group.