Celebrating the valuable work of church volunteers
Congratulations to our winning churches
We are delighted to announce the overall winning church of our 2018 church competition, St Stephen’s Church, Tonbridge, and their volunteer, Betty Keywood.
Churches up and down the country rely on the army of volunteers who give their time and dedication to make sure the worship, buildings and outreach continue. So our competition this year celebrates those extraordinary people who give so much.
To celebrate and thank all of the volunteers who make worship and church life possible, our ‘Little deeds, big difference’ competition asked churches up and down the country to let us know about any volunteers who have gone above and beyond in their gifts to their church.
Our judges were looking for:
- Volunteers who have made a meaningful and impactful contribution to their church and community. Perhaps their actions have reached a great number of people, or helped address a longstanding community need.
- Volunteers that have gone above and beyond in their volunteering efforts.
- Volunteers whose activities are valued and recognised by those they have helped.
Our overall winning church, St Stephen’s Church in Tonbridge, Kent, received the grand prize of £10,000! Our other five winning churches each received £2,000.
Find out more about our winning churches and their volunteers below.
Our overall winning church
St Stephen’s Church, Tonbridge, Kent, and their volunteer Betty Keywood.
We could all benefit from knowing someone like Betty Keywood. If you’re feeling low or need a hand, Betty is always there with some practical help and advice. “She’s just one of those people who are good at doing little, ordinary things that make people feel very special,” says Isabel Plimmer, Operations Manager at St Stephen’s, Tonbridge.
When Betty first started coming to the church back in 1958, the Vicar needed help with the paperwork, so Betty did the typing and later helped to set up the church office. Ever since those early days, she’s been playing an active role, setting up groups and always baking plenty of cakes.
Teaching through craft
Betty had originally hoped to be a teacher, but had to give up her ambition to care for her father. However, she managed to find an outlet for her teaching by setting up craft groups both in the church and beyond. As Mark Baker, Vicar at St Stephen’s, says: “Through your organising, baking, sewing, making and teaching you have shared with others incredible gifts of love, care, wisdom and support.”
There’s one famous story of Betty teaching crafts to the girls at a local primary school. Before long, the boys heard what fun the girls were having and asked to give up woodwork to learn crafts too!
Betty doesn’t like to be the centre of attention but, as Isabel says, “It’s a really nice thing to be able to recognise these people.” Her enthusiasm, commitment and dedication are an inspiration to everyone at St Stephen’s and beyond.