Brian Jones awarded Cross of St Piran
“As a leader on any venture, like Friends of St Dominick, you’re only as good, or as poor, as the people involved – and I’ve been very blessed to have had good people around me,” says Brian, who believes the St Piran Cross Award is a reflection and encouragement for the work of the Friends in their community.
Brian has spent a lifetime loving people, lots of them. That’s because his business had been retail, of which he says that a love of people is vital, otherwise what’s the point of working there? “I think people are so interesting. Some are on the same wavelength as you, but others can be on completely different ones, and the challenge is how to reach them.” It’s a challenge he took up all his working life and continues into retirement, and in his work with the local church in St Dominick.
Brian has had a full and colourful life, starting in retail when only 15, in a department store in Gloucester, working his way through different challenges, departments and stores. His working life saw him rise from the shop-floor to become a merchandising manager, head buyer and eventually director of his own branch of a leading department store. He has worked and travelled in Birmingham, London, Torquay and the Far East, relishing each posting and the people he met along the way – including his wife Christine. For the couple, it was love in the window display, meeting as they did when Christine worked in that department.
All of this has been strengthened and enriched by the power of prayer.
“Sometimes, I’ve had to make tough decisions about people, and I think I may know what to do. But talking them over through prayer has been essential, either to reinforce a decision, tweak or change it completely,” says Brian.
In 1971, the couple, who were by then a family with three boys, moved to St Dominick. Very quickly they became involved in the church with Brian joining the choir, the PCC, of which he is still a member, 40 years later, and Christine volunteering wherever and whenever she could.
The life lessons Brian learnt from his extensive experience in retail have not been lost. “Everything is always about people and understanding how to make a connection.” Brian became chairman of the Friends of St Dominick, a group that, under his leadership, it is said, “…Has grown a significant Christian dimension in witness, mission and pastoral care.” Part of that has included a newsletter that goes to every home in the village, a strategy for welcoming newcomers and action plans to visit the elderly and the housebound, making sure that everyone, no matter what their wavelength, is cared for and not forgotten about.
“We’re a good team,” says Brian, “And this wonderful award is a testimony to that, but I wouldn’t have been able to play my part in any of it, if it hadn’t been for the support of my wife, Christine.”