The real Peggy Joyce

Who was the real Peggy, and why is there a picnic in her honour?

For anyone at London School of Theology between the years 1995 and 2017 – staff, student or faculty – Peggy will be a familiar name. In fact, speak to anyone from those years, and they will rave about their morning chats with her, catch ups in the hallways, and the familiar mantra, ‘’ello darlin’, ’ow are ya?’ Officially, her role may have appeared small, but it is no understatement to say that her legacy was great, and lives on in our Annual Freshers Week Peggy’s Picnic.

Typically, this takes place on the Wednesday evening of Freshers Week, complete with a barbecue, music, freshers stalls and merchandise – and Peggy’s name emblazoned on the banner in our Quad. This year was no different.

But for all of our new students, this tradition may seem a strange one. So Rebekah Carter, our Marketing Manager, spoke to Peggy’s daughter, Yvonne (aka Yvie), to find out more about who the real Peggy Joyce really was – and why her legacy at LST is a lasting one.

“It’s wonderful that you continue to hold the picnic in her honour,” says Yvie. “She loved her time at LST and especially loved getting to know all the new students. She received so much love back.”

After wishing all the new students the best with their studies at LST, Yvie explains a bit more about what her mother’s role at the college was: “My mum, Peggy Joyce, worked at the college from 1995 until 2017. She worked in house-keeping as a cleaner, however, her contribution to LST was far greater than the care she exercised in cleaning, which in itself was formidable! (She had a ‘special’ ingredient, which she used to polish the floor!)

“Her cheerful presence and down-to-earth common sense helped relationships wonderfully and she became a listening ear to many. It was just in her nature to help others. She had her own unique way – straight-talking, no matter your rank!”

Peggy was a remarkable lady. Yvie speaks about how LST meant so much more to her than simply a place of work, and how the people made the place: “She made some very dear friends during her time at LST – and she looked out for all the new students; making sure they had everything they needed – she kept an eye out for anyone who might be struggling those early weeks.  There was always a cup of tea to be made – and certainly a biscuit or slice of cake to go with it!

“The College meant far more than ‘just a job’ to her. It was her ‘happy place’. She didn’t ‘need’ to work but she continued to do so well past retirement age.  She just loved being there, and loved everyone, which seemed to be reciprocated.”

Sadly, Peggy’s death came as surprise, and her loss was felt dearly. Yet it might be safe to say that she died as she lived – refusing to make a fuss, but making the best of things. “One day (on a Monday) she caught a terrible cold, but worked through it for the whole week. A colleague insisted that she saw a doctor on the Friday, but she refused. She passed away the following day. She was 87 years old.”

In the same vein as her mother, Yvie extends her warm wishes to all our new students, and her love and thanks to all who knew her mother. She says: “I’m sending my very best wishes to all who knew my dear mum. I was so touched by the comments I’ve seen from students reminiscing about their time with her.”

It seems Peggy’s life and work embodied the values of community that we so value at LST. And as such, it feels only we right that she is honoured in our annual picnic.

So for any students wondering who Peggy was – now you know!