Joyce Baptiste

The borough of Newham is full of inspirational figures who are dedicated to helping and improving their community, and Joyce Baptiste is one such person.

Joyce was born on November 2nd 1952 in Grenada and moved to London with her siblings at the age of fourteen. It was in London that Joyce pursued a career in midwifery and eventually became an active member of her church and community. Joyce grew up in beautiful Grenada with her family but at the age of five, her parents decided to migrate to London in order to provide a better future for their children. This decision was by no means easy for her parents, and although they were separated for periods of time, they would often return to Grenada to visit Joyce and her siblings. In their absence, Joyce’s grandmother and aunt were given the task of raising her and her three siblings. While Joyce lived with her relatives, she built a strong bond with her grandmother whom she adored greatly. She would go to church with her grandmother every Sunday, and to this day, she continues to go to church, seeing Christianity as an important aspect in her life.

At the age of fourteen, it was decided that Joyce and her siblings would move to England, to live with her parents. This was a bittersweet moment; she had to depart from her Grandmother and Aunt whom she loved dearly, but she would no longer be apart from her parents who she had missed sorely. The adjusting period was surprisingly brief, and although Joyce had trouble understanding some of the English accents, life in England was not entirely different to Grenada. During her early years in London, she lived in Mile End where she attended Bowbrook Girl's Secondary School (near Bethnal Green), and a few years later, Joyce and her family moved to Forest Gate.

Joyce had always wanted to care for people and it was the influence of her Great-Grandmother, who worked as a midwife that led to Joyce pursuing a career in midwifery. Joyce attended West Ham College to study a pre-nursing course, as well as O-levels and even joined the Red Cross for two years. Once Joyce completed her nurse qualification, she worked at Plaistow Hospital doing what she loved - helping people. Joyce went on to complete her Midwifery course three years later.

As a midwife Joyce was – and still is – well known in her community and is often stopped and greeted on the streets by former patients. However, after Joyce's sister became ill four years ago, she retired from midwifery to help take care of her.

Today, even as a retired midwife, Joyce continues to work hard for her community - as an active member of her church and a member of the steering group of Plaistow South Big Local.

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