Norfolk Street Pastors say goodbye to Val
2010: Street Pastors, Prayer Pastors, Trustees and others have said farewell to Norfolk Street Pastors project co-ordinator and driving force Val Dodsworth, who has stepped down from her role. Gail Halley reports.
Farewells were said on Tuesday January 12 at Gage Road in Norwich as a thank you to Val Dodsworth (pictured right) as she stepped down from her role.
Val was at the very first meeting which took place at Norwich City Hall in the autumn of 2006, and she felt clearly God’s call to volunteer as its first co-ordinator – volunteer being the operative word because at that stage there was no money in sight!
Because of her love for God, for people and for Norwich, and using all the experience she had gained over the years of working as a probation officer and with the Genesis Project, Val was the ideal person to launch Street Pastors.
She set to work to contact churches, the local authority, police and other ministries in Norwich and in an extraordinarily short time she had – by God’s grace – found 18 people to sign up to the first training course in January 2007. Since then the work has grown and grown.
About 45 people came to eat, drink and be merry in Val’s company and the place was filled with warmth and gratitude towards her, not just for what she had done but for who she is. Theresa Cumbers spoke on behalf of Norfolk Street Pastors’ Trustees in appreciation for the wonderful way Val had started and sustained the project.
Val in her response said the growth of Street Pastors had been truly amazing, and she noted that half a dozen of those originals who stepped out onto the streets of Norwich in March 2007 were still deeply involved with the work. Two of them, Paul Rendell and Gail Halley, are now Co-ordinator and Administrator respectively.
Founding chairman, John Betts, paid tribute to all that Val had given to this work, describing her as an outstanding Christian leader in Norwich. And Paul Rendell pointed out that Val had built not a ministry but a family.
Val Chipperfield who heads up the prayer side of Street Pastors spoke of the great support and encouragement Val had always given to the prayer pastors.
Norfolk Street Pastors current chairman, Richard Pennington, said: “It was Val herself and her tremendous enthusiasm which brought me to involvement in Street Pastors. Thereafter her care and concern for those on the streets - be it revellers worse for wear or for homeless men and women, has shown along with the street pastors and prayer pastors themselves that real Christianity still exists in Norfolk. She has our best wishes in moving forward with her work for the House of Genesis.”
Theresa presented Val with a basket of spring bulbs and a token for John Lewis provided by gifts from many of the Street and Prayer Pastor volunteers. But it should be stressed this was not a retirement party; people like Val don’t do retirement, and we await news of the next stage of her life with great interest.