Fourteen people from across the Diocese of Truro will receive a Cross of St Piran award in March for their services to the church and local communities.

As with most things, covid-19 has meant the services this year will not take place in the usual way. The recipients will attend an online service with the crosses and citations sent to them by post.

Many of those nominated this year have been selected for their efforts to support their local communities adapt to the new way of life we are all experiencing in a pandemic.

As in previous years, the service will be led by the Bishop of Truro the Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen.

The Cross of St Piran are annual awards. Each year deaneries are asked to nominate individuals who have gone above and beyond in their service. The full list of those to be awarded and the citations are below:

Nigel Owen (Penwith deanery)

Nigel is a Founder Member of CHIN (Christian Helpline in Newlyn) and has been its chair for over 35 years.

At the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic CHIN, which primarily provides a community transport service, took the decision to suspend its work taking people to and from medical appointments as many of its volunteers were over 70 years of age. Nigel liaised with CTIPA (Churches Together in Penzance and Area) food bank to see if CHIN drivers could help with the delivery of food parcels.

Nigel quickly took on the logistical role of store manager, building new shelving units and helping to facilitate the throughput of donations from source to client as efficiently as possible. He built new shelving units, has overseen the cleaning and clearing of new storage areas and the installation of a further secure container unit at the food bank base.

Initially working six mornings a week during lockdown and some afternoons, he enabled the food bank to keep up with vastly increased demand. He also liaised with other food providing agencies to make best use of short shelf life or bulk products that were not suitable for food bank weekly parcels.

He continues to work four mornings a week and afternoons if required and has now joined the food bank management group. His work is much appreciated by the other staff and committee members.

Nigel is also a regular communicant, server, and works with the maintenance team at St Peter’s, Newlyn.

John Boase (Kerrier deanery)

John, as well as undertaking the role of Helston Churchwarden extremely diligently and using his skills as a qualified electrician in all sorts of useful ways, has done wonderful work broadcasting services within the benefices we serve.

Literally every Sunday since the first lockdown began in Lent 2020, John has broadcast a service on YouTube and/or Facebook from one of the churches. He has edited the material appropriately, using imaginative visuals and music enabled by Church of England services.

John has done much else besides his weekly broadcast. He spent hours weaving together musical and spoken contributions from a wide number of our churches and their membership for one online service of Nine Lessons and Carols.

Ian Smith (Carnmarth North deanery)

Ian has worked tirelessly ever since the first lockdown to serve the community of Camborne. His concern was first and foremost for the those who live on their own or church members who have no internet access and rely heavily on meeting people face-to-face or using the telephone for interaction. He knew how important it was for people’s mental well-being and spiritual life that they felt connected and were able to participate even in a small way with the life of the church, even though it wasn’t gathered in the building.

Ian has been the church postman, armed with hand sanitiser and strict instructions not to touch garden gates or letterboxes. He pounded the streets each week to deliver weekly notice sheets, Worship at Home packs with Palm Crosses in the run up to Easter, and more recently Advent packs with Comfort & Joy booklets for Christmas. In addition, he organised the safe collection and delivery of church family Christmas cards, imposing strict quarantine rules on the box of cards and enabling older congregation members to distribute their Christmas greetings safely and for free.

His love and care for others is seen in his attention to detail, his commitment to each task and his perseverance in these uncertain times. Ian is a living saint and much valued member of Camborne Church. He has followed Piran’s example by stepping out in service and in the spirit of ‘one and all’, ensuring no one is forgotten or isolated.

Jim Seth (Carnmarth North deanery)

Jim Seth has been a Reader since 1988. Since his retirement as a teacher, he has thrown himself increasingly into the life of the church, both in Redruth and in recent years for the diocese, as well as remaining very engaged with the world of education through his work as a chair of governors of one of the Redruth primary schools.

Since the pandemic began, this level of engagement has grown again. As a technophile, Jim has been at the forefront of the Redruth benefice’s online presence. Chiefly that has been as head technician and content provider behind the Sunday morning Zoom services, and playing host almost every day to the daily morning prayer sessions also on Zoom. His role as an insightful and inspiring preacher and leader of worship is highly valued. But he has also spent many hours at an individual level helping technophobes to become more proficient in the online world.

As diocesan chaplain to the Readers, during the pandemic Jim has hosted an online weekly gathering of Readers for prayer, discussion and support, and has developed a broad ranging weekly mailing sent out to all Readers with his own and other people’s thoughts and worship material. He pays great diligence to Readers going through all manner of difficulties, and provided support for them that has been hugely appreciated – sometimes Readers have joined the weekly support meeting from their hospital beds. In addition, Jim has a real gift for training and nurturing the vocations of Readers in training.

Mention must also be made of Jim’s huge role in safeguarding provision – for the diocese, but also locally. As a trainer, Jim manages to make the subject urgent and accessible at the same time with his heartfelt appeal: ‘It’s simply about keeping everyone safe!’

In all of this, Jim continues to delight in seeking out new things of God, gently challenging his colleagues in ministry, and always quick to volunteer for the next thing.

Monique Collins (Pydar Deanery) 

Monique took over DISC in Newquay in 2018 and the organisation has never looked back. In 2020 it regularly fed 170 people each day.

Unfortunately, it has had to move premises twice in that year and Monique could have easily thought it was all too much. Instead she embraced the challenge, re-invigorated the committee with fresh business minded members and at Christmas 2020 they fed over 250 people on Christmas Day with a multi course meal.

Monique has a loyal staff team and she is very much still hands on with the service users, meeting most of them on a daily basis. She is instantly contactable, she knows how to inspire and elicit the goodness in others. She responded to the challenge of; “so what are you going to do to improve the situation”, and has never looked back.

Nina Davey (Powder deanery)

Nina is one person who has done a lot for the community in Feock. She runs the Linden Hey Tea Rooms and when lockdown started the establishment had to close, Nina realised that many residents had to self-isolate, so started offering lunches and doing three days a week and organised a team of volunteers to make the home deliveries.

Nina is also a Local Worship Leader and during the transition has stepped up from doing one service a year (the carol service) to at least one service a month. Her imagination means these services of the Word are extremely well received.

Nina is Feock born and bred and absolutely central to the life of both the church and community. Just the sort of person we should be encouraging through the Cross of St Piran.

Marie Liddicoat (St Austell deanery)

Marie has been part of St Luke’s Boscoppa for some time. She is on the PCC and was Churchwarden.

Marie is a ‘prayer warrior’ and quietly the engine house of the church as she prays for all the people we have contact with and the work that the Vicar and the school chaplain do. She is also a CAP befriender- she is the befriender for the first St Austell CAP client.

Marie is an important part of the local resident’s association management committee which seeks to serve and improve a deprived estate (Chapel Fields and Boldventure) and she regularly litter picks the estate. She encouraged other members of the estate to plant flowers to make it nicer and out of her own pocket she bought lots of plants and planted them in strategic places. She bought and put motivational posters up on the estate notice board (she had permission!) They were all about the love of God. She helped to repaint the estate’s playground equipment.

Marie also volunteers for the home library service taking library books to the housebound and keeping them company.

She helps Emma (another member of the church) to run Kids Matter either by facilitating childcare or running it with Emma. She bakes for elderly neighbours every week and has had them over for Christmas lunch with her family.

During the ongoing Covid pandemic, and in addition to the above, she has been contributing to the accumulation and delivery of activity packs for vulnerable families.

Marie never blows her own trumpet – she’s the sort of person who quietly serves the Lord and her community under the radar.

Robert Pearce (Trigg Minor Deanery)

Since becoming church warden in 2018, Robert, with the support of his wife Kathryn, has worked tirelessly to build up the church and its mission at Bradoc. The list of his accomplishments during this time illustrate both his creative vision and seemingly inexhaustible energy. Between them, Robert and Kathryn have revived and restructured the financial arrangements that have undoubtedly laid the foundation upon which everything else is founded.

He inspired the current Lady Chapel reordering, which has resulted in a community space/Lady Chapel for private prayer, and informal worship. Through his tireless work,

the thread-bare carpets were renewed, heaters placed above the pews, new floors laid and old repaired, a contactless card reader was installed to encourage the ministry of giving by visitors to the new nature trail he has created in the church yard.

The vestry has been transformed into a useable and safe office space, complete with a new metal wardrobe where a full set of ecclesiastical robes now hang – replacements that he secured along with a new amplification and Wi-Fi system which ensures services are heard and seen by all who attend service.

He is a constant source of encouragement to the children of the parish, and his weekly bell ringing classes are responsible for many of them being in church on Sundays. They usually take part in the service by reading, singing, or playing the newly acquired electric baby grand piano that he acquired through grant applications!

Robert also set up the Open the Book team which goes into Bradoc school on a fortnightly basis. He has facilitated an ecumenical link with our neighbouring Methodist chapel who also form part of the team. In 2020 during the covid-19 pandemic, Robert established contact with a name sake church community in Maryland USA, and we have spent the past year developing international links via zoom with them, culminating in an internationally united carol service in December 2020.

The living churchyard is a quiet place of peace and tranquillity visited by parishioners and the school children alike. Robert has also built a nature altar and pews which we use for worship in the warmer months.

Neither time nor space will permit us to list everything that Robert has accomplished at Bradoc since his time in office, this is besides his work across the benefice as safeguarding facilitator and advisor, health and safety and PCC officer for another parish, or his work in the deanery, of which he is the vice chair, or yet his work in the diocese as a synod member and recently appointed advisor of the DAC. Suffice to say that we are proud to nominate him for this award and it comes with our ringing endorsement.

Edward Lancaster (Trigg Major deanery)

Bearing in mind that this year we are encouraged to put forward names of those who have made a particular mark during the pandemic, there was strong support for putting Edward Lancaster’s name forward on the grounds that, almost single-handed (with encouragement from his parents) he has masterminded the local church’s online response to the pandemic.

Edward, 17, has put in many hours each week to edit and produce the very professional-looking pre-recorded services that went out each week during the first lockdown. He then made the live streaming of Sunday services possible.

The online services have had a wide reach, with many more people tuning in than actually attend the services physically. Edward has also been re-inventing the website which, along with the Launceston Parishes facebook page, now gives us a credible online face to the world.

Edward has really enabled, almost overnight, what would normally take us a decade of development/evolution. Without his input our response in providing services during the pandemic would have been very much reduced.

William Taylor (West Wivelshire deanery)

William (Bill) Taylor has given decades of service to the diocese, deanery and St Neot Parish. He has been a committed Christian and faithful worshiper throughout his life and has been a strong supporter of local ministry. He has, again for decades, served on this parish’s PCC and continues to do so. He has been a faithful and leading member of the deanery synod and its committees and again continues to do so, often with some no small effort these days.

He is a central character in village matters and has been adopted almost as a “wise elder” of the village. He is the star of the show come Oak Apple Day (which is still marked with a procession and prayers and the raising of an Oak Branch) when William recites (very well indeed) from knowledge and memory, the history upon which the day is founded.

Until recently, during the pandemic, he has for well over 20 years opened and locked the church every day, enabling our parish church to be open from 7.45am until 6pm come rain or shine, winter or summer. He has been an ambassador for St Neot Church, often meeting with visitors to show them around and has consistently been present to act as verger at weddings and funerals – of which we have several every year.  He rarely misses a service and has always prepared the altar and cared for the silver, again making sure everything is locked away securely.

William for many, many years has been a key person in counting the offertory and managing the banking of the same. He has often been one of the few who will regularly join the incumbent for evening prayer, especially during winter months.

William has contributed a great deal to the life of the church and village, often in unnoticed ways, he is indeed a good and faithful servant.

Jenny Bushrod (East Wivelshire deanery)

As well as being an excellent Churchwarden for St Mary’s Sheviock and an efficient project manager for recent church refurbishments, Jenny Bushrod was nominated for the work she has undertaken during the covid-19 pandemic. Every week from the first lockdown, she has written a letter to everyone on the church electoral roll, keeping them up-to-date with services and information around the parish.

She has done this in an excellent and pastoral manner, her wording being very mindful of deaths within the parish and other issues going on. As well as emailing out this letter every week, she has ensured that the contents were passed onto those without email by telephone. This has been a significant undertaking and has ensured the unity of the congregation.

As well as this she also devised a plan of seating in the church (with fixed pews) that would enable an optimum amount of people into the church for services whilst maintaining social distancing. This has enabled people to attend safely knowing that there has been strict adherence to the rules. Jenny’s care for both the church and its congregation has been exemplary and worthy of an award.

Hillary Rogers (Stratton deanery)

Hillary is a lifelong member of the Church, which she has served faithfully as a PCC member, in addition to undertaking many of the duties which ensure the upkeep and smooth running of church such as cleaning and brassing.

However, more recently during the covid-19 pandemic, Hillary has really stepped up to the mark and has served our community in the following ways. Although being the same age as many of the elderly people that she has helped, Hillary has used her car to ferry several people to the medical centre for appointments and flu jabs and to the pharmacy for prescriptions, shopping and delivering papers. Hillary also telephones a number of people who she thinks might be lonely or feeling isolated and could do with a friendly chat.

Hillary not only directs her attention to the elderly, for two mornings a week, she goes to the school to hear readers.

Hillary is a thoroughly community minded person who before covid-19 was a part of the cooking team for all the community lunches and the Christmas party. She is on the community centre and festival committees. As a parish councillor she has input in the production of “Hamlets”, the local newsletter and is also treasurer to the WI.

The community of Morwenstow has a lot to thank Hillary Rogers for in the dedicated service that she freely offers to her rural neck of the woods in these difficult times.

Chelly Sturgess (Stratton deanery)

Chelly has been nominated in recognition of her leadership and work in 2020 for the Camelford and Neighbours Food Larder, which also encompasses Tintagel, and for establishing, running, and maintaining a village information page for Tintagel – Tintagel Community Care and Support Group.

Chelly was one of two people who set up the Camelford and Neighbours Food Larder in 2018 to support families who were struggling to feed their children. She then took charge of it when the other person had to step down. The aim of the larder is to help those in need and to reduce food waste. Volunteers raise funds for supplies, and they receive donations of food and money to enable them to provide much needed support. Camelford and Neighbours Food Larder Facebook page has 1,100 members.

In conjunction with Emmar Cordoza, Chelly has been a driving force in these communities, ensuring that all who are in need can access food without formal referrals or paperwork.  All are treated with the utmost confidentiality and respect.

During 2020 they have found that the need for support has doubled, and they are providing food packs to 100 families a week. They also supplied Christmas food packs, as well as craft activity packs for children.

As the charity shops were closed during lockdown, Chelly provided, and continues to provide, a link for people to donate household items which are then made available for people to ‘purchase’ with donations to the Larder.

At the beginning of the first lockdown Chelly also set up a Facebook page – Tintagel Community Care and Support Group – to offer information, support, and communication to the community in a very uncertain and unprecedented time. Since then, the group has grown and now not only supports and promotes local businesses, but helps residents with enquiries and in keeping communication open. This is a most welcome and much needed hub for information about the village, and currently has 611 members.

More recently, she has also been involved in the community cooking project with Julie Potter, providing home cooked meals.

Chelly is also involved in supporting some families who have had to flee from abusive home situations, and helping to provide basic household and clothing items.

Chelly and her husband have four children, and she works part-time in the Spar shop in the village, and also volunteers to support Cornwall Hospice Care.

Sharon Wicks (Penwith)

Sharon is the Bar Steward for Hayle Rugby Club. During the first lockdown, in March, Sharon helped organise Hayle community kitchen. A group of volunteers cooked food for those who were shielding and other vulnerable people within the community who couldn’t access food easily. On a Wednesday and a Saturday, they were able to have a hot meal for £2. One week one of the local shops gave an Easter egg to each of the recipients. They also received drawing from children within the community. Although the food was welcomed I think the fact that somebody cared enough to do this created a great sense of togetherness in the community.

Sharon also shaved her head for ‘brave the shave’. On the Hayle local Facebook page some lads were sponsored to shave their heads to raise money for the NHS. They formed a Facebook group called support the NHS, stay at home and brave the shave. They raised over £16,000 for the COVID-19 fund.

This autumn Sharon was also instrumental in helping Bodriggy Surgery with the flu vaccination programme. This is important any year but especially important this year! She let the surgery use the rugby club for a mass vaccination programme which meant we didn’t have to go to the surgery for our flu jabs we could go in our cars and not risk the surgery.

Sharon also went to any and every shop that was open to get goods and ingredients to make food at the community kitchen.