It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Prisoners Abroad's founder, Joe Parham, who died on 11th February 2022.

Joe was one of three founders who set up Prisoners Abroad in 1978 as a small group of volunteers after reading a letter from a British prisoner held in awful conditions in Turkey. At the time, Prisoners Abroad mainly provided support to Britons held in Turkey, central Asia, and north Africa. 

Joe Parham (right) with co-founder, Craig Feehan

Joe was the last surviving founder of Prisoners Abroad, as Craig Feehan and Chris Cheal predeceased her in the 1980’s. Her kindness, compassion, and and her desire to be there for British prisoners overseas helped to make the organisation what it is today.

When asked about Prisoners Abroad's inception Joe said: 

"We didn’t know what we were letting ourselves in for. We were young and brave and thought it would be quite easy, it was so obviously a good idea. With hindsight we were incredibly lucky. We had absolutely no experience in forming a charity, or fundraising, or networking, or case work. But some wonderful people gave their time and expertise to help us and teach us what to do, and somehow it worked."

Pauline Crowe, Chief Executive, "Despite the decades that had passed since Joe had worked at Prisoners Abroad, the organisation was enormously close to her heart.  She would come to events whenever she could to support us and it was a real pleasure to see her recognised in 2018 at our 40th anniversary. It was always lovely to have a catch up with Joe – she took great delight in our progress and I for one will certainly miss her."

We would like to share with you Joe's words following the last event she attended:

"I met some inspirational people and felt so proud of you all. Above all I feel really confident. We had some tough times along the way, but I know that the caring organisation I dreamed of is in very safe hands."

 Love to you all,


The Prisoners Abroad team in 1983 (Joe Parham second from right)

Read Keith's story about how Joe supported him when he was detained in the Middle East in 1982.