Helen was born in Dundee, the daughter of Mary, a power loom weaver, and John, a cloth lapper. She grew up in the Hilltown, and after she left school she worked in the Overgate Mission, where the minister saw her aptitude for social work and urged her towards the prison service. Helen was glad to get out of Dundee; she went to become a wardress in Calton Jail in Edinburgh. This was round the time when suffragettes were being imprisoned and force-fed – a horrible process. Helen ran a Bible class, and prisoners were glad to attend because they got out of their cells for it. In 1921 she returned to Dundee and married John Moon, a railway goods checker, and they had two daughters. It was back to the mill to earn some money, but Helen still found time for the Women’s Guild and running an old folks’ club. She lived to be 90.