A pillar of the community

Church of St Mary and St John, Lamyatt, Somerset, and their volunteer Freda Gibbons

Lamyatt is a small village to the south east of Shepton Mallet, with only around 180 inhabitants. Dating back to Roman times, the village has seen many changes in recent years, as traditional farming has made way for a more modern way of life, but during the past few decades, Freda Gibbons has been a constant pillar of the community.

Freda has been on the PCC of St Mary and St John’s for over 60 years, and has been Church Warden for the past 21. “She goes to practically every service and sets up the altar, puts up the hymn numbers, rings the bells and then welcomes everybody,” explains Jennifer Richards, Treasurer and Freda’s nominator. 

The village is in Freda’s blood, as she has lived in Lamyatt for most of her life and indeed her grandparents are buried in the churchyard. From helping to write the church magazine, to standing on the village’s alms house committee, Freda has always been keen and willing to get involved. 

“It’s all the little things that really need doing,” explains Jennifer. “They’re absolutely vital and you need someone to do them, but those people don’t always get the recognition that someone raising money or redecorating the church might get.”

The nomination has come at the ideal time, as Freda has recently had a significant birthday. Lamyatt celebrated with an afternoon tea party in the village hall, with friends and villagers all invited. “It’s been a very busy week but a fantastic week too,” says Jennifer, “It was lovely.”

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