Sister Eluned Williams MBE: A life devoted to children

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Elijah Cruz - Digital Communications Officer
Thursday 23 May 2024
Sister Eluned Williams talking to a group of women

This blog is dedicated to the memory of Sister Eluned Williams MBE, who passed away in 2024, and was one of our last-ever Methodist-ordained ‘Sisters of the Children’.

Who was Sister Eluned?

Sister Eluned worked at Action for Children for an incredible 44 years. For as long as she could remember, Sister Eluned wanted to work in a children’s home and described it as her ‘calling’.

She developed a lifelong bond with the children she cared for, many of whom remained in contact with her via phone, letter or regular get-togethers.

Sister Eluned remained a prominent ambassador for Action for Children throughout her lifetime.

“At school, I knew I wanted to work with children. It was assumed I would teach as we had teachers in the family, but I said no, I don’t want to teach, I want to work in a children’s home.

Sister Eluned Williams
Sister Eluned Williams MBE blowing out candles on Action for Children's 150th birthday

Sister Eluned celebrating Action for Children's 150th birthday

A Sister's calling

Eluned's determination to work with children took her to the National Children's Home (NCH), the former name for Action for Children. Here, she joined the training college in London and joined the Sisterhood Order.

She qualified with a Home Office certificate in the Residential Care of Children and Young People and began working in Edgworth in Lancashire.

Edgworth was the first NCH home outside of London and was opened by NCH founder Thomas Stephenson in the 19th century when there were too many boys in the London home.

She then managed Ardwyn Children’s Home in Dinas Powys – a home for up to 16 children at the heart of the local community. She held the position for 25 years, helping to raise hundreds of children, who affectionately called her ‘Sis’.

Sister Eluned received widespread recognition for her work, including appearing on This is Your Life with Michael Aspel in 1990. She went on to receive her MBE for services to children and young people the same year.

She was a devoted Methodist, and former Llywydd Y Gymanfa, President of Methodism in Wales. She went on to hold one of the most senior positions in the Methodist Church from 2000 to 2001, as Vice President of the Methodist Conference.

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Sister Eluned Williams walking through a garden

In Sister Eluned's own words...

Sister Eluned had a way with the young people she worked with. This helped them to build trust and strong bonds with her. When looking back on a group of boys she looked after who had a reputation as being tough, she said:

“I won them over by teaching them to value themselves and one another – and by being active, doing things with them: games or whatever they might be interested in. I remember saying to them: ‘Whatever you do, it doesn’t mean I’m going to give up on you!’.

You had to work at giving children roots – you had to create homes for them, and a sense of identity – and something they can identify with.

Sister Eluned Williams
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