Mary Hughes from St Michael and All Angels, Bishop’s Cleeve, has been named as one of the six winners of the national ‘Little Deeds, Big Difference’ competition. The competition, which celebrates and recognises the work of church volunteers across the UK, was run by specialist insurer Ecclesiastical.
Ecclesiastical received more than 300 nominations from across the country. Each of the six winners will receive a prize of £2,000 for their church with one lucky winner taking home the £10,000 grand prize.
Mary was nominated for her outstanding record of voluntary service. A street pastor offering safety and advice to those in trouble on the streets of Cheltenham at night, a trusted Brown Owl and local co-ordinator of the Neighbourhood Watch, Mary has dedicated her time to transforming the lives of local people. From working with children at the local primary school, visiting the local nursing home and assisting with the day-to-day running of St Michael and All Angels, there is not a part of parish life that Mary has not influenced.
Assistant church warden Ann Jessop, who nominated Mary, said: “Mary is committed to transforming lives through Christ’s love. As a street pastor, co-ordinator of the neighbourhood watch, youth worker and 44 years in the guide movement. She is known throughout our community for her loving kindness and practical caring. All of our lives are touched by her sweetness.”
Michael Angell, Church Operations Director and one of the judges, commented: “Given the quality and number of nominations we received, the judging process was extremely difficult. Every single entry was worthy of recognition and deserving of a prize, but our six winners really stood out and have made an outstanding contribution to their local communities.”
The six winners were chosen by a panel of judges and will attend the winner’s lunch on 1 November, where the efforts of each nominee will be recognised and the winner of the £10,000 prize will be revealed.
Michael added: “The ‘Little Deeds, Big Difference’ competition really has revealed the thousands of little deeds carried out by church volunteers every day that make a big difference to so many, in all sorts of communities.
“Churches play an important role in local communities and church volunteers support a wide variety of activities and people every single day. This support is becoming increasingly important, particularly where other community resources are closing or have had to reduce the services on offer.
“We hope that the competition has helped raise the profile of the valuable work that church volunteers undertake in their communities and, that the prize money will go some way to helping support the many and varied activities they run.”
To find out more about this year’s competition, visit: www.ecclesiastical.com/churchcomp.