The Chairman of Cornwall Council will receive a Cross of St Piran Award from the Bishop of Truro after being nominated for her work in the Diocese of Truro over the last 40 years.
Ann Kerridge, who has worshipped at St Meubred Church Cardinham for 40 years, was nominated for the award by members of her church for her work in church and across the local community.
Ann, a Liberal Democrat councillor for Bodmin St Mary’s and who is currently in her second stint as Churchwarden, said: “It was a surprise when the church said they were going to nominate me. It is a really friendly bunch of people there.”
Ann first became involved with the church after moving to Cornwall. “I lived in Cardinham for a bit and I first met the vicar there as he stood outside his church looking hopefully for people who might be coming into the service that Sunday morning. So I did. My family and I have always been made to feel that we were all very welcome. Although I haven’t lived in Cardinham for years I still go to that church because when you have a small group of people, if one person steps back it leaves a very big gap.”
As well as her family and church, Ann spent 15 years working as a manager at the Citizens Advice bureau and was involved in local economic regeneration activities. She also played a large role in setting up Interlink, an organisation aimed at getting voluntary organisations in Bodmin to work together. Ann said: “It’s important to make the whole community prosperous so it helps everyone. There’s always a need for community organisations to work together because there’s a lot you can learn from different parts of life.”
Ann says she feels her community work is part of her faith but those in her congregation know she would never mix politics with sermons. “I’ve always thought that if you were a religious person you should be doing things in your community and I do feel that combating poverty was an important part of what God was calling me to do.”
And Ann’s role as a town councillor and now Cornwall councillor has enabled her to see how much work is being done across Cornwall. “I now get to meet a lot of people and groups I wouldn’t normally meet and it makes me aware of how much community work is going on. There are a lot of people doing a lot of things but often those same people are multi-tasking and working across lots of areas.”
As well as her community work, Ann is also a Churchwarden and 12 years ago trained as a Reader. “I started on the path to Reader Ministry during my first time as churchwarden. We didn’t have a vicar and I was the only churchwarden and I found myself taking services sometimes because there was no one else. To my surprise I found I liked it and so did the people in the church. So when things calmed down I started the training. Not only was I doing services in my church but I also took a turn on the Methodist circuit as part of an exchange project. I think going to different places really helps you to develop.”
But with so much on and a new granddaughter born last year, Ann is planning on standing down from Cornwall Council next year although she won’t be putting her feet up!
“There’s just so many other possibilities to investigate! The church in Bodmin, St Petroc’s, will soon have a new rector and so there will be new things happening and I’d like to do different things in the community. I want to do more on the town council and my granddaughter will be one soon and I want to spend more time with her. My children Ben and Helen and my mother live in London and I want to be able to see them more.”
Ann is unable to attend the main Cross of St Piran Awards ceremony but this has led to an unexpected benefit as she will now receive her award from Bishop Tim at a later date in her own town, providing all her friends with the opportunity to take part.
Ann said: “It’s great because there will be a much more community feel to it and those other groups and organisations I work with could also be involved.”