A number of local recipients from across the Duchy were presented with the Cross of St Piran award at a service in Perranzabuloe last weekend. 

Sunday, March 4 saw the church of St Piran packed out for the service led by Rt Rev Hugh Nelson, Bishop of St Germans. 

Fifteen crosses were handed out to those who came from across the diocese.

The Cross of St Piran is an annual award which is presented to individuals who have gone above and beyond in their service. 

They are largely nominated by their peers and can be recognised for everything from length of service to specific projects.

Miss Verna Jones from Launceston was one of those who was awarded a cross. 

Verna was nominated for her award by her congregation for giving her time in different ways to Tremaine Church for many years. 

Verna has been a parochial church council (PCC) treasurer,  a member of the PCC and a churchwarden with the local area. 

It is said that Verna has been the moving force behind many events to draw people to the church – a number of these have revolved around music. 

Verna spent her career teaching music at Wadebridge School, tutoring a large number of children over the years. 

Verna has played the harmonium at Tremaine Church putting up with its foibles until it eventually gave up and now, at 85, plays for services using her battery-powered keyboard as there is no electricity. 

Verna is well known to offer her musical services to other churches, taking on church organs when she is not an organist. 

In addition, she regularly goes into a local care home to provide accompaniment for Communion Services there.

Speaking before collecting her award, Verna said: “Over the years I have worked with many kind and hard working people connected with the church and community over a wide area. 

“I feel it is the ‘Working together’ that helps to create progress and more confidence in acquiring measures of success. In that light, I say thank you and humbly accept this award.”

Liam Crabtree from Liskeard was also one of those who was awarded a cross. 

Liam, who was nominated by the church, is a relative newcomer to St Martin’s Church. 

Following his partner’s tragic death from a drug overdose, he was left to bring up five young children on his own. 

Initially a client of Christians Against Poverty, Liam was encouraged to join an Alpha course and soon committed his life to Christ. 

In September 2022 he and all his children were baptised in St Martin’s Church.

In their nomination the church said: “We name Liam as our church’s best evangelist! His love for Jesus is so strong that he spreads the word among his friends. Together with one of our Transforming Mission leaders, he has helped to set up a men’s group consisting of mostly younger men, also with troubled pasts, who have struggled with poverty, addictions, and mental health issues. 

“This group, called SOAR (“soaring on wings like eagles”), meets regularly in three different locations including St Martin’s Church Hall and has grown in number over recent months. 

“Thanks to Liam, it now boasts 30 members, with an average of 15 attending each week.”

Reflecting on his award, Liam said: “I was thrilled to be nominated for this award. I am thankful for being accepted and having such a supportive church and church family. I am dedicating my award to all the amazing blokes who are part of Soar – they’re legends! 

“And most importantly thanking our Lord, for the blessings you have bestowed on my life.”

Others awarded included; David Williams from Helston who was nomination  in recognition for his work with the Mustard Seed, Lucy Thompson from Falmouth was given a Bishop’s Award for Climate Justice and Creation Care and was presented in recognition of the passion for Creation Care Lucy has demonstrated in her local area and beyond and Rev Mark Richards from Camborne as for 15 years Mark has worked in healthcare chaplaincy in Cornwall, much of that time as Lead Chaplain at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust.

Under his leadership and with his Christian faith as his bedrock, the Chaplaincy team has become an integral part of the day-to-day life at Cornwall’s only acute hospital.

Mark said: “I am both honoured and humbled to receive the Cross of St Piran. Being a Healthcare Chaplain has always been a privilege, particularly during the years of the pandemic. 

“I wish to thank all my chaplaincy colleagues and my family for all their love and support.”

Further recipients included; Martin Wright, Jan Varney, Merisa Macinnes, Lesley Seth, Mary Pearce, Richard Margetts, Ian Halford, Andy de Rozarieux, Lyn Colborne, and Jill Bunt.