“I feel embarrassed – honoured, but embarrassed to have this award. So many other people work hard, I just do what has to be done.”


When Joy and her husband Rob are lugging armfuls of stuff from the garage to the town hall in Wadebridge for the monthly rummage sale, setting up stalls, putting up posters, manning the refreshment stand and then trudging the unsold rummaged-through-left-behinds at the end of the day – it doesn’t always feel like the most God-glorifying task.

Likewise, when they make their way to unlock St Breoke Church every alternate weekday, come rain, shine or good old Cornish mizzle. Or when Joy, in her role of Congregation Warden makes sure the church is clean, warm, welcoming with the right books for the right service.

But everything they do for their church, they do because they love the community it reaches out to. They also want to make sure it will be there for future generations. “Keeping the church open after it had been closed for so many years is really important – people love going there, it’s precious to them,” says Joy.

Joy is undoubtedly a busy woman, organising the rummage sales, helping with the annual craft fair and almost every other ad-hoc fundraising activity in the church’s calendar. But it is when fulfilling her role as sacristan that Joy gets to take a deep breath, slow down and reflect on what it is to serve God. For a long while she was nervous of taking on the responsibility and solemnity of serving the Chalice in Communion as, when growing up, it was always a role reserved for the ordained. But Joy says, “I love doing it now. I really feel I am holding the blood of Jesus – it is very special.”

Spending a lifetime working within mental health care has made Joy a particular asset to the life of St Breoke. “Congregations are made up of all sorts of people, who might not always behave in ways that others agree with,” says Joy. Her gifting is in trying to see behind the front, to understand that people get to where they are because of what they might have been through. Meeting people where they are is something Jesus is particularly good at – He’d probably be lugging stuff to the rummage sales too, making friends with the people who came along and showing them love and kindness in a smile and a cup of tea.