Mary Judson from Bude and Sandra Huffer from Poughill were both nominated for Cross of St Piran Awards in 2015 for their work in the deanery and their commitment to community projects including an organisation which provides support to those who have been bereaved.

Solace was started two and a half years ago by the Revd Rob Yeomans. Sandra says: “One of our local funeral directors pointed out that while they supported people during the initial period following bereavement there was nothing else available once the funeral was over. Revd Rob Yeomans whohad beena chaplain in a hospice and had experience in training bereavement volunteerssaid he was prepared to set up and train a group to do that.”

Sandra was one of the first volunteers to join. “We are not counsellors we are support volunteers. We meet once a month and there are two teams. There are usually four or five of us on duty to meet people on a one to one basis over a cup of tea or coffee;   it is very informal we are there to “listen”.  There aren’t really any other services providing this type of support for the bereaved in Bude.”

Sandra became involved in volunteering not long after moving to Cornwall. “When we decided to move to Cornwall we knew we wouldn’t know anyone or have our family nearby but we knew we’d be ok because we’d have a church family. We arrived in the May and I just pottered around throughout the summer but then February came and I felt Ii needed to get out and do something worthwhile. I didn’t know anyone and felt I couldn’t just stay at home and not do anything. I went to the Volunteer Bureau and they directed me towards Age Concern where I ended up as secretary staying for ten years.”

Mary agrees. “I raised my two children as a military wife while also working as a midwife and we moved around a lot. Having the church helped. It brought consistency wherever we were.”

Mary arrived in Cornwall in 1983 and threw herself into community life. She has served continuously on the PCCs of the churches in Marhamchurch and Bude and is in the Mother’s Union where the localgroup are currently supporting the Women’s Refuge, the Neonatal Baby Unit at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Kernow Young Carers and she is heavily involved in the Scouting movement and Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. She is also the Deanery Lay Representative on the Diocesan Synod and has attend synods for 25 years. “I really do enjoy it and get a lot out of it. It gives me a buzz being with other people who are keen to support the diocese.”