Reader Malcolm Henderson from Kea Church has been nominated for a Cross of St Piran Award in recognition of his significant contribution to life at Kea Church over the past 30 or more years.

Malcolm, was nominated via the Powder Deanery and has been actively involved at Kea Church for the past 34 years and a Reader for the past 25 years.

Brought up in a non-conformist church in Salford, Malcolm found that being part of a strong group of Christians through his teenage years helped him stay within the church. At the age of 17 he met Doreen, now his wife of 55 years who has been a strong supporter and initiator of much of the work that Malcolm has done. “Doreen doesn’t take much part in the upfront things but has always been working hard behind the scenes.”

After spending five years at university studying architecture, Malcolm spent several summers working in Newquay and he fell in love with Cornwall. “There didn’t seem to be much Christian witness here. We had this youthful idea that we would be Christian Evangelists in Cornwall!”

Whilst searching for jobs in the region he found a job in Exeter, where they subsequently moved and had three children. In Exeter Malcolm and Doreen got involved with an open evangelical church, Belmont Chapel and Malcolm was co leader of a large youth group.

A few years later redundancy threatened and Malcolm decided to look for work elsewhere. “I filled in forms to go to Canada because my sister and best man were out there. Whilst we were filling out the forms this job came up in Cornwall and I applied for it with around 70 others and I got the job. In a sense it was God saying to me that you wanted to go to Cornwall but you weren’t ready… it was economic pressure but in the background was God.”

Malcolm and Doreen have been involved with Scripture Union training people to set up Sunday schools and Home Groups, and thus set up Kea churches Home Groups 30 years ago.

When Malcolm started attending Kea Church there was only one vicar taking all three services on a Sunday. “When the vicar realised that I had been preaching for many years at non-conformist churches he said ‘I am the trainer of Readers you could preach for me one time’. It took me nine years to complete the course as I found myself preaching almost every other week. The Diocese decided to change the Readers course and anyone who hadn’t completed the old course by the time the new one was brought in would have to start again! So that prompted me to finish quite quickly.”

After travelling to Canada in 2008 around the time of the financial crisis Malcolm and Doreen were both concerned about people losing their jobs, homes and that a lot of people might be in need. They saw food banks whilst there and decided to start one in Truro when they came home. They Googled “Foodbanks” and found the Trussell Trust, a Christian charity based in Salisbury where two of their daughters live.

Friends at Kea church were supportive and following a meeting of folk from most local churches, Truro Foodbank started in 2009. Truro was the 37th Foodbank to start in the country and there are now over 400 and growing. “We have been amazed at the way God has worked through our local churches and community. We have always received enough food and finances.”

Malcolm has also been involved with TEAR Fund since it began in 1969 and has been an active member of the PCC for many years.  For five years he was an advisor to Church Town farm near Liskeard which provides holidays for people with severe disabilities and together with Doreen has been involved with several other local organisations and charities

Reflecting on being nominated for the St Piran’s Cross award, Malcolm added: “This is how God has led my pathway and how I have tried to respond to that as a disciple. In everything I have been supported and encouraged by Doreen and in the many things she has done with Citizens Advice, Relate and the Mermaid Centre I have supported her. In most things we come as a package!”