“I don’t think I could live without my religion. I don’t think I could live without God!”


Sheila, who had very recently come home from hospital after suffering with a painful aneurism, was almost aghast when asked why she had put her church at the centre of her life. It isn’t just something that she has always done, but, for Sheila, is the only way she could live.

Similarly, when asked what she enjoyed most about all the things she had done, she raised her eyebrows and said, “All of it!” with a look that said, “Obviously!” Sheila has been a faithful member of Crowan Parish Church for a great many years, in fact since she was married in April, 1964.

Sheila was taken aback when she was told about the award, “What I do is for the love of doing it, not for any award or anything.” It was easier for Sheila to talk proudly about all the achievements of her daughter Amanda – church warden, captain of the bells, “does it all” – than it was to talk about any of the ways in which she had helped through the years. But Sheila has been a reliable pair of hands at Crowan, helping out wherever she was needed. That has included assisting with verging duties at weddings and funerals, helping with the Sunday school and the Ladies Guild, and has a particular ministry talking with people, especially those unwell or bereaved.

A prime organiser of fundraising events, Sheila is especially pleased with the Strawberry Afternoon, an annual strawberry and cream feast held at her daughter’s farm, that has become a local social must. Last year they turned it into more of a party, coinciding it with the celebrations for the queen’s birthday and raised £600, “But we didn’t give her any!” laughed Sheila.

Sheila is in her 80s, and not feeling in the best of health, but still she said wistfully that in her prayers she asks that she could do more.