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Some people just seem to find more time in the day than the rest of us, and that’s certainly true of Mary Hughes. Street pastor in Cheltenham, Brown Owl at her local Brownies group and co-ordinator of the local Neighbourhood Watch, Mary still finds time to play a key role at St Michael & All Angels in Bishop’s Cleeve.
The reason that Mary’s name sprang to mind when Ann Jessop first read about our Volunteer Competition was simple. “We do have some quite wonderful volunteers,” says Ann, “But we feel that Mary is the spirit of our church.” She is constantly out in the community, helping and meeting people and engaging with young and old in so many different ways.
Although still technically a village, Bishop’s Cleeve is expanding rapidly, and there are around 17,000 inhabitants. Mary embodies the culture of welcome at St Michael’s. There may be 200 to 300 people at the services on a Sunday, but Mary is a friend to them all.
“She is the most cheerful giver,” says Ann. To take just one example, two years ago Mary helped to set up the Godly Play sessions in the church, where the three to five-year-olds play with wooden figures and learn Bible stories in a fun and engaging way. From singing in the choir to setting up the local ecumenical group, Mary plays an active role in so many ways. We’ll leave the last words to Ann: “Our lives are touched by her sweetness.”