The Body of Chains artwork formed part of the Jubilee 2000 campaign which successfully lobbied for billions of dollars of debt cancellation. But debt cancellation wasn’t the only change that Jean helped to bring about. She was part of the movement that brought fair trade products into the mainstream:
“This was back when the supermarkets weren’t stocking fair trade produce. We collected till receipts from members of our church and used a highlighter pen to draw attention to all the items that could be fair trade – like bananas, chocolate, tea, coffee and sugar. We met the supermarket managers, showed them the receipts and asked them to stock fair trade versions.”
What motivates her?
“Because of my Christian faith but also because I want to help people in need.”
Two years ago, Jean decided to leave a gift in her Will to Christian Aid. What prompted her decision?
“I always attend the Christian Aid supporter conferences and last year, one of the staff asked us to consider leaving a gift in our Will so I decided to do it. It was very straightforward.”
Jean wrote her Will during Will Aid Month in November 2019. Now in its 11th year, participating solicitors waive their fee for writing a basic Will in lieu of a donation to charity. Christian Aid is among nine well-known charities to benefit.
Jean has lived in Bangor since marrying Andy in 1968 but she grew up in Ballymena with her brother Ernest McKeown who still lives in the town. She describes her childhood as ‘normal and happy’. Jean was GB captain at Wellington Street Presbyterian Church and Ernest was BB captain.
Jean became GB captain at First Bangor soon after her move there. She and Andy have two sons - Peter lives in Michigan in the United States and Victor lives in London. What do her sons think about her decision to leave a gift in her Will to Christian Aid?
“They don’t know yet. They’ll find out when they read this”, she laughs. “But they don’t need to worry – they will be looked after.”