Mary Lyons

Lived in Hindley, near Wigan; a friend of Molly Keegan, Pat Keegan’s sister. Became involved with Wigan Catholic Worker House of Hospitality run by Bob and Molly Walsh (Bob edited Catholic Worker); met Mary Powers who trained girls as Jocist leaders. Trained there for 3 months ‘it became apparent that here was something new, totally different from other parochial organisations – we were in fact to become apostles of our fellow-workers’.

Describes first girls’ section formed in Hindley in 1938; a boys section had already been established by Pat Keegan. The section grew through 1938-9, and new sections began. Wigan YCW Council began Sept 1939.

Although the boys sections were in difficulties when war started, the girls continued to grow. Norah Connolly was first president, Lily Lalor first secretary, and Joan Muir was treasurer. Mary Lyons took on the role of treasurer after her, ‘a position I held until my marriage, when, of course, I had to leave the movement’. (Not sure whether these roles related to Wigan or to the whole emerging movement?)

The girls’ sections also faced difficulties in wartime, with girls being called up and working long hours in munitions factories.

She married a fellow YCW, Austin Lyons, and suggests it was the first YCW wedding. ‘We sang ‘Rouse Up’ and had the YCW badge as decoration on the wedding cake’.


Memoir in YCW Archives, England