Norfolk vicar's Covid-19 work honoured by Queen
A Gorleston vicar has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours List, delayed from June to provide an opportunity to recognise some of those involved in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Rev Matthew Price, Vicar of St Mary Magdalene Church in Gorleston, was nominated for his “contribution to the Coronavirus response, and as an exemplar of the wide range and exceptional community and front-line service given across the country in recent months.”
Matthew said: “I feel very honoured and completely blown away. As the pandemic unfolded, we simply tried to live out Jesus’ command to love our neighbour which is at the heart of both the Christian faith and my calling as a parish Vicar. I never expected any sort of recognition, but it is lovely that our efforts have been recognised. I’m also really aware that our community response was a massive team effort, both from members of St Mary Magdalene, other local churches, and also the wider community, so I see the award as recognising everyone who contributed to that effort.”
Working in partnership with other local organisations, Matthew and his small team co-ordinated a group of over 100 local volunteers delivering, driving, collecting, phoning, praying, donating, door-knocking, cooking, cleaning, organising, packing and doing desk work such as databases and references.
Matthew said: “From mid-March to the end of July, we delivered 1,793 food parcels, serving 1,150 different people (including 370 children). We also delivered cards offering support (via a freephone helpline) to every household in the Parish. This was followed up by a programme of door-to-door welfare checks as the lockdown restrictions began to ease (with the support of the local Police and Borough Council).”
The award will be presented locally by the Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk and Matthew has been told that he will also receive an invitation to a Royal Garden Party in due course.
The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham Usher, said: “I am truly delighted that Rev Matthew Price’s contribution to the life of the community of Gorleston has been recognised by HM The Queen with the award of the British Empire Medal. Whilst his modesty as a parish priest will not want any appreciation, Matthew has been a bearer of the light of Jesus Christ during the pandemic and gone the extra mile to care for vulnerable people. Together with the people of Gorleston, I send him my warmest congratulations.”
Pictured above is Rev Matthew Price helping to sort food parcels during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Read our previous story on this topic