New Year Honour joy for Beercrocombe church stalwart

This is The West Country: Grace Warfield. Buy this photo » Grace Warfield.

A WOMAN who has helped out at the church in Beercrocombe all her life has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the community in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.

Lucy Grace Warfield – known as Grace – found out the news in November, but has had to keep quiet until it was made public this week.

Ever since she was christened in St James’ Church in the village, Grace has been involved there, even after she moved to Broadway about 20 years ago.

She is perhaps best known for being the church organist, but is also secretary of the parochial church council, has taught at Sunday school and is always on hand to help in other ways, such as at a wide range of events, including plant sales, harvest suppers and lunches.

Grace said: “The letter arrived in the middle of November, and the envelope said ‘Strictly Confidential’ and ‘On Her Majesty’s Service’, and mentioned the Cabinet Office, so I couldn’t open it for quite a long time because I was so afraid I’d done something wrong.

“Eventually I did open it and it was a wonderful surprise. It’s beyond my wildest dreams. Everyone has been very kind, and my friends and family seem very pleased. My father would have been so proud of me.

“I enjoy all I do for the church and we have a very good team. It’s nice to be recognised, but I can’t believe it – I think ‘why me’? I’m just doing what I do and I’m pleased if I’m helping people.”

  • Ann Bennett, of Martock, who is chairman of the League of Friends at Yeovil Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, also received the British Empire Medal for voluntary and charitable services.
  • Actress Penelope Keith, who starred in the TV series To The Manor Born, which was filmed at Cricket St Thomas, has been made a Dame.
  • David Gibbings, of Yeovil, has become an MBE in recognition of his work in the engineering team at helicopter builders AgustaWestland.
  • Avon and Somerset Police chief inspector Steve Kendall has also been made an MBE for helping to develop policing, and law and order, in Kosovo on an 18-month secondment.
  • Lee Howell, head of the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, has received the Queen's Fire Service Medal for services to the emergency services.
  • The Queen's representative in Somerset – Lord Lieutenant Lady Gass – is given the Royal Victorian Order.


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