Tributes to Kathy
The Bishop of Lichfield has joined others in paying tribute to the well-known and well-loved Pathway founder and Chief Executive, Kathy Coe, following her retirement.
A surprise party was arranged for Kathy on Friday and for once in her life she was speechless – albeit only briefly! Patrons, civic dignitaries, friends, colleagues and service users all gathered at St John’s Church in Burntwood to pay tribute to this amazing woman.
Awarded the MBE for her outstanding work in the community she recently enjoyed a rare day off to travel to Buckingham Palace to receive the award from His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales.
Kathy, herself a survivor of domestic abuse, escaped from a violent and abusive husband in the 1980s and finding that there was little help for those in her position, set about putting that right. "I found the inner activist in me," says Kathy, "and I brought together a group of people who helped me set up Pathway."
And she has dedicated her life to Pathway, which now provides a 24-hour Helpline, Refuges for women and children, and activities and support for children and families, including support for men who experience abuse. Since registering as a charity in 1991, Kathy and her team at Pathway have helped over 30,000 families and they take pride in turning ‘victims into survivors’.
Kathy and the Pathway team have faced many challenges over the years, not least the dramatic cuts in funding. But they didn’t sit back - the Pathway Patrons was started in 2017, so that people could donate year on year to the charity in order to help provide sustainable income into the future.
There are now 65 Patrons and as a result of their support Pathway has secured over £32,000 each year for its much needed services.
And at the retirement party Kathy was asked to join the small group of Honorary Patrons. Nina Dawes OBE, Chair of the Income Generation Group, said: "This is a fitting tribute to Kathy who has dedicated her life to Pathway and those families that it has served."
The Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, added: “Kathy’s commitment to victims of domestic abuse and her service to the wider community is an inspiration to us all. It is a wonderful example of the life-changing difference faith can make to so many lives when it is put into practice. We have particularly welcomed Kathy’s experience and expertise as part of the Diocese’s Safeguarding Scrutiny Panel in recent months and look forward to working with her further in the future.”
Kathy will join the Bishop Michael; Ian Dudson CBE KStJ, Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire; Simon Price CEO of Arthur Price Ltd & Patron of We Love Lichfield; Angela Burns Chief Executive of the Webb Hotel Group; Joss Musgrove-Knibb, Group Editor & Director of City Life in Lichfield Limited; Joanne Malin, the award winning Radio and TV presenter; Katherine Kelly, the renowned actress whose recent successes include Mr Selfridge & ‘Cheat’; and The Lichfield Mercury.
Kathy Coe said ‘I’m thrilled and delighted to have been asked to be amongst those Honorary Patrons who lend their support so publicly to Pathway. I’ll do all that I can to help Pathway raise much needed funds so that it continues to help turn victims into survivors into the future’.
‘I’m delighted that I am passing on the baton to Hayley, who I know loves Pathway as much as I do and will keep Pathway safe for as long as there is a need for the services. She has all the skills and creativity to make a wonderful job of taking Pathway forward and she has an amazing team who will support her in the task. We would still welcome the support of the community and if anyone would like to become a Patron they would be giving a chance of a new safe life to many families. Please get in touch for more details.’
Kathy has inspired many people and her team at Pathway will continue her legacy. She is succeeded by Hayley Baxter who was previously Director of Operations.
Pathway’s 24 hour Helpline can be reached on 01543 676800 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone interested in becoming a Pathway Patron should contact Amandab@pathway-project.co.uk or 01543 442618.