Tony and Joyce epitomise the truth that three strands are stronger than two – with God as the third strand binding them together, they are an extremely effective team.


Tony jokes that God is a habit he’s had for 76 years, leaving Joyce to qualify that she has never known a time without Him. Together they have loved and served their church, St James, in Kilkhampton, in every way possible for all their married life.

Being nominated together for the Cross of St Piran Award by Revd Richard Ward-Smith is a testament to their teamwork. Joyce says, “I’m much happier in the engine room while Tony steers from the front, which is probably why we work well together.” Tony cheekily asks if it’s because opposites attract.

They have complimentary gifts that they’ve used in different ways. Tony began serving as a choirboy, progressing to bell-ringing and today is the Tower Captain. He’s been involved in all aspects of church life, including church warden and chairman of the PCC. Fundraising is an inevitable feature of his work and happily there have been times when God has given a helping hand. As Tony says, “St James has a wonderful organ but it was in dire need of restoration, needing cash way beyond our capabilities. As it happened, a dear old lady from the village left us a very generous legacy that exactly met the costs of the renovations.”

Joyce has served on the Parish Council and village committee but insists she is much more of a do-er than a sitter. Which is why she can usually be found in the thick of countless church activities organising teas for events like Messy Church, Harvest Festival and the Flower Festival. Most recently Joyce worked with a team to provide over a hundred cooked roast lunches for the village to celebrate Candlemas, “It’s showing God’s love by what you do,” she says.

Both value their community enormously and their community seems to value them as there is never a shortage of people to help, “Our Volunteer Army,” says Joyce. “It means we’re never working on our own.” Significantly, this army isn’t confined to their church. Other churches and people from across the community regularly pitch in.

It helps that St James physically sits at the heart of Kilkhampton, but it is people like Tony and Joyce that ensure its heart keeps beating. They insist they only do what they do because they are so well supported, but it is very special to be able to call on the wider community as often as they do. With their knack of pulling people together, willingness to roll up their sleeves and work alongside each other, neither are shy of showing God’s love in action.