As I sat down to enjoy a cup of tea in the sunshine with Kathryn Hill outside her cottage on the main street in Polruan, it is clear how involved in her local community she is. Chatting to friends as they pass, she seems to be the point of contact for many local events and fundraisers.

Having grown up in Polruan, just up the road from where she now lives, she left for over 30 years spending her time at university, teaching in the West Midlands and being a missionary teacher in Nigeria. She returned to the village in 2000 and it was when the local church of St Saviour needed someone to run the annual Christmas Eve nativity play that Kathryn stepped in to help. At the time, there were no other youth workers in the church and so her experience as a teacher led to a natural involvement with the youth of the church.

Fast forward 17 years and Kathryn’s week is jam packed with youth church events. Along with other volunteers, she currently runs messy church, two kids’ clubs (aged 4 – 11) and a youth club (aged 11-18), which take place after school on a Friday, as well as a holiday club which runs for a week in the school summer holidays, and Open the Book sessions at Polruan School.  Activities at these clubs can vary but often include table games, crafts, cooking, junk modelling, gymnastics and hikes in the local area. They also incorporate a ‘thought for the day’ or have ‘candle time’ to represent Jesus as light of the world and to take a moment to say the Lord’s Prayer.

Some of the teenagers who previously attended the clubs have now ‘graduated’ to become young leaders and regularly help with the younger children.

Open the Book sessions are a big part of the work Kathryn does. With her team of volunteers, they visit Polruan School each week and act out stories from the bible for 10-15 minutes.

Kathryn says: “If I only had the time to do just one activity, it would be the Open the Book sessions. I think it is so important. The children may not remember all the details of the stories but hopefully they will remember that the Bible is interesting, the Bible is exciting, the Bible is fun, the Bible is relevant to my life and God cares about me.”

Open the Book began in 1999 and since then thousands of schoolchildren have discovered Bible stories, during assembly and collective worship. It is a three-year rolling programme of themed and dramatised storytelling at no charge to primary schools. Teams of volunteers throughout the country use drama, mime, props, costume – and even the children and staff themselves – to present the Bible stories in lively and informative ways.

Kathryn goes on to explain her love of working with children: “Being involved with children keeps you young at heart and I really enjoy their company. I love their enthusiasm, I suppose because I feel that I’ve never really grown up!”

“When I was a child, people gave up their time for activities I was involved in – Brownies, Guides, and swimming – so it feels like I am paying back that time.”

You can find out more about Open the Book on the Bible Society website

Find out about the work the Diocese of Truro does with education and schools here


Kathryn leads the Open the Book session at Polruan School