Gordon Gibson from Lelant has given over 50 years to the Reader Ministry but was still “completely taken aback” to receive a letter saying he had been awarded the Cross of St Piran for his work.

Nominated by the deanery of Penwith, Gordon’s recognition was also for his work in the community which has included supporting Penzance Women’s Aid (formerly Refuge) and the Mothers’ Union.

“My wife Jean was deputy vice president of the Mothers’ Union and we became involved with Refuge through my wife’s work as a head teacher. One of her staff turned up one day in a terrible state and that made my wife and I determined to help women and families in that situation and there’s scarcely been a week in the last 20 years where we have not been at the refuge.”

Gordon and Jean say that they have been fortunate to be able to call on their churches to assist in their work and the local community often give toys, clothes or other items for the couple to take to the refuge. “Women often turn up with nothing but what they are wearing. The local community are very caring here and their donations really help.”

The couple, who have two daughters and five grandchildren, have always been involved in the church having come from church families although Gordon says his real involvement started as a five-year-old in 1935 when he was dragged to church by his brother to join the choir. He first became a Reader in Coventry before joining the Diocese of Truro’s Reader Ministry 26 years ago when he and Jean moved to Cornwall. “We’d always enjoyed coming to Cornwall in our caravan and once we were retired we moved to the county.”

Gordon, a retired headteacher, has mixed his community work with his church life spending 25 years as a Reader in Carbis Bay and Lelant, leading church worship, preaching, leading funerals, taking home communions and leading prayer groups.  Gordon says of his hectic schedule: “It is good to be busy, especially when you are helping people.”

On March 8, Gordon’s wife Jean, both of his daughters and all those who were involved in his nomination will be there to see him presented with his Cross of St Piran by the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Tim Thornton.