Church stalwarts are honoured by the bishop

Bishop Christopher Foster, centre, with, recipients of the St Thomas Award. From back left, Rose Ashton, John Green, Bishop Christopher, Alan Hoad, the Rev Michael Harper. Front, Brian and Beulah Walters, Canon Marion Syms, Bunty Alderton and Jenny Tait.
Bishop Christopher Foster, centre, with, recipients of the St Thomas Award. From back left, Rose Ashton, John Green, Bishop Christopher, Alan Hoad, the Rev Michael Harper. Front, Brian and Beulah Walters, Canon Marion Syms, Bunty Alderton and Jenny Tait.
Dr Christopher Nutting

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TEN faithful worshippers were given a special award by the Bishop of Portsmouth to mark their commitment to the Church and the wider community.

The Rt Rev Christopher Foster presented each of them with a St Thomas Award, named in honour of St Thomas a Becket, patron saint of the Anglican Cathedral, in Old Portsmouth.

It’s the second year that Bishop Christopher has presented St Thomas Awards to long-serving stalwarts from Church of England parishes

Bishop Christopher said: ‘These are, of course, just a very few examples of the commitment and service offered by so many in the parishes, congregations and communities.

‘In serving their community and parish and congregation, they are serving our Lord, who we seek to follow as disciples.’

Congregation members from St John’s Church, Forton, in Gosport, turned up to the cathedral waving flags and carrying balloons to celebrate the St Thomas Awards being presented to John and Linda Green.

Mrs Green was unable to attend, but she was praised for her work helping with Sunday School. Mr Green was given the award for his work assisting with worship, serving as churchwarden and parish treasurer for many years, and volunteering and fundraising in the community.

Alan Hoad was presented with an award for his service as churchwarden at St Mary’s Church, Hayling Island, where he played a major role in the transformation of the interior of the church.

Canon Marion Syms, from Portsmouth Cathedral, was recognised for supporting others in the development of their spirituality, and in counselling at the All Saints’ Counselling Centre based at All Saints’ Church in the city.

She also has a high-profile role in the Inter-Diocesan West Africa Link.

Brian and Beulah Walters, from St Cuthbert’s Church, Copnor, received the award for their contributions to parish life over the past 50 years. The couple have offered hospitality, raised funds, prayed and helped those who were ill, and supported the worship and social life of the church.

Jenny Tait, from St James’s Church, Clanfield, was rewarded for her commitment to youth work and discipleship, and is currently running a joint youth group with St Wilfrid’s Church, Cowplain.

And the Rev Michael Harper was given a St Thomas Award for his long service as a deacon, serving the churches of Leigh Park and Warren Park over the past 30 years, as well as working in schools in Warren Park and Bidbury.