Fr Francis Leeder said: “As parish priest I know that St Pancras couldn’t work without a lot of unsung heroes’ efforts behind the scenes. It was lovely to recognise some of the people who contribute so much to the parish and what was great was that they all seemed to be surprised that they were being honoured for their contribution. That clearly wasn’t the reason why they were doing it – and these were people who have been helping out the parish for decades.”
He said the parishioners awarded medals were: Josie O’Halloran for help with children’s instruction and catering; Jan Patrick and Doreen Batley for children’s instruction and reading in church; Anne Abbott, organist and choir leader; Bernadette Wood for child protection, fire officer and child instruction roles; Vernon Scott, David Sparrow and Tony Turner for stewarding; Gerry Elliott for accounts; and Kathleen Vidal for catering and work on the “back-up team”.
Mrs Vidal said: “Receiving my Diocesan medal was a huge surprise. I feel most honoured and humbled to receive such a precious award, especially for doing something that brings me so much pleasure. I must emphasise that I am part of a great team of volunteers at St Pancras.”
Mrs Abbott said: “I was delighted to receive the medal. It’s great to know the choir really is appreciated. We do our best and do it all for God.”
Mrs Wood, who was presented with her medal in church, said: “I knew some people had been put forward for a diocesan medal but it did not occur to me I would be on that list. It was a lovely surprise to be called out to receive this award after Mass, and what a lovely response from the people at church that day who showed such love and happiness to me. We serve the parish in many ways, but so also does our wonderful Fr Leeder who has to put up with all sorts of our ideas and plans and he does so with great patience. Thank you to everyone.”
Her daughter, Stephanie, said: “For all those days your daughters had to chase you round the church to get you to leave it for Sunday lunch. Well-deserved my mummy.”