Bishop presents awards for years of service
BISHOP Christopher presented awards to diocesan stalwarts to mark years of faithful Christian service.
The bishop has created the St Thomas Award, in the name of the patron saint of our cathedral, to mark notable Christian service in the church and wider society.
And the first 14 recipients of the award attended our cathedral to receive their awards during Evensong in May.
Among the recipients was Rodney Fox, from Binstead, Havenstreet and Wootton, who received the award for his long service as a Reader, his involvement with Christian education on the Isle of Wight, and his roles as governor and inspector.
He was headmaster of King Edward School, Witley, and a Reader in Guildford diocese before moving to the Isle of Wight in 1998. He was responsible for the joint Anglican/Methodist training course for Readers on the island, and still leads the Exploring Christianity course there.
He was chair of governors at Ryde School for six years, and chaired the governing body at St Blasius C of E Primary in Shanklin as it converted to academy status. He still co-ordinates the work of his parish with Binstead Primary School, and inspects independent schools across the country.
“I was very surprised and pleased to receive this, but also slightly embarrassed because other people also do so much,” he said, “It’s a privilege to do all these things for the Church.
“I enjoy being part of school life on the Isle of Wight too. I still lead assemblies at Binstead Primary, and co-ordinate what our parish does there. There is a programme so that pupils visit the church each year and learn what happens at baptisms, weddings and funerals, and so on.
“I was also a selector for the Bishop’s Advisory Panels for 10 years, which was a great opportunity to meet people who are trying to find God’s will for their lives. You come away from those times uplifted and reflecting on your own life and vocation.”
Another recipient of the award is Felicity Hindson, who worships at St Peter and St Paul Church, Exton. She was previously a churchwarden, and is part of the choir that sings in all four of the Bridge parishes. She was a county councillor for many years, leading the work of Hampshire County Council in Children’s Services and then in Adult Services.
“We did focus on young people in difficulties and whether we could provide kinship care for them, with uncles, aunts, grandparents, or other family members, rather than taking them into care,” she said. “This involved training for social workers, and also for those family members who took on these young people.
“I also worked in Adult Services, where we tried to give those with disabilities the chance to live more independent lives, and to get the best help for older people. It was very rewarding work, but I’m very aware that we did it as a team, and that I had the support of the council leader. I feel honoured to be given this award from the bishop.”
Bishop Christopher said: “What strikes me is that these people’s service was and is to the gospel first and for the kingdom. It’s not just for what they’ve done, although they have all done a great amount, but for who they are.
“What distinguishes these people, and they are only the tip of the iceberg and representative of so many, is their honest and generous service without personal gain. In these 14, we see the life-giving Spirit touching and changing lives, bringing hope out of frustration, delight from despair.”
For more photos, click here.
OTHER RECIPIENTS OF ST THOMAS AWARDS:
Laurie and Ethel Brokenshire (Holy Rood, Stubbington): For fostering more than 60 children over the past 25 years. For details, click here.
Randal Cross (All Saints, Ryde): For service to the parish, deanery, archdeaconry and diocese.
Philip Drew (Holy Spirit, Southsea): For dedicated service to the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches as organ adviser.
Margaret Hunt (St Faith’s, Lee-on-Solent): For years of service as churchwarden, safeguarding representative, working with children and young people and within the community.
John Nicholls (St John’s, Locks Heath): For wisdom in serving the diocese’s governance, and leading the lay staff committee for many years.
The Rev Humphrey Prideaux (St Mary’s, Alverstoke): For service in education and teacher training, and support of ministry in many parishes in retirement.
Frank Reid (Cathedral): For years of service to the cathedral in various roles, including as churchwarden.
Ian Smith (Ryde): For years of service on the DAC and helping to solve problems relating to church buildings.
Michael Voice and Marilyn Palmer (St George’s, Portsea): For commitment to ministry and mission in Portsea for 30 years.
Sue Whitewick (Seaview and St Helens): For years of service in worship, administration and community engagement.