Sarah Warburton, a parishioner at St Michael’s Church in Breaston, was one of around 40 people from the across the Diocese of Derby to be recognised for their work during the Covid-19 pandemic and awarded a Bishop’s Badge. A special service was live-streamed on Zoom from Derby Cathedral where Bishop Libby officially gave recognition and presented the awards.
Sarah was recognised for her work in leading and coordinating the Covid-19 street leaders in Breaston, providing support for the vulnerable and setting up and leading a food collection service for local food charities.
Sarah said she felt incredibly lucky to be awarded the Bishop's Badge: “It certainly feels like I received the Bishop’s Badge on behalf of a fabulous team of volunteers, without whom we definitely wouldn’t have been able to do everything that we have done in Breaston. I collected it on behalf of a group of people especially those who helped make the scheme possible, including Richard Warburton, my Husband, Paul Stuttle, Jo Whitehead and Revd Chris Smedley – vicar at St Michaels Breaston.”
When it looked like a lockdown was likely, St Michael’s Church had a meeting with the Parish Council, the Breaston community forum, the Good Neighbour Scheme and the Methodist Church about how they could respond in the village to help the community. Flyers were sent to each house offering help with shopping, post and prescription collections. Such was the hugely positive response that shortly after 130 volunteers had registered.
The group’s ambitious goal of having a leader on every street in the village was achieved within a week and when things quietened down, the network organised a food collection for the Canaan Trust and the Long Eaton and Sawley Foodbank.
Sarah said: “There were just so many incredible stories coming out of what was happening in the village. One lady was shopping for 10 elderly neighbours and that was at the time that the restrictions were in place.”
Sarah really hopes that the community spirit will continue: “We have been at St Michael’s Church for three years and during that time we have seen so many volunteers from the church being active in the community. At the time of the pandemic, many of those were forced to isolate, so it’s been a really good time for the younger generation to step up and get involved to do their part.”
“We’ve now got the network and hope to continue it. We have a food collection planned for Christmas and with the second wave we have been in contact with everyone again to see if they are available to help and have again received such a great response.”
This year, Bishop's Badges were awarded to nominees who have supported their churches and local communities during the pandemic. The recipients were nominated by clergy in the diocese.
Other recipients this year include Jim Morton of Ripley, who provided online worship opportunities through digital church, social media and zoom and also built an Alexa app to make worship available on smart speakers; Enid Glassey, Lewis Marriott and Pamela Marriott for outstanding volunteering work helping with the Cresswell Breakfast club feeding vulnerable families in our parish during Covid-19; Claire Henley for being a key team member and leader of the Food Hub work at St Alkmund's, Derby, organising care packages that have been delivered to members of the church and local communities; and a vast number of other volunteers who have provided pastoral care, online services and other support, including chaplaincy and hospital visits. and
The Bishop's Badge has historic links, based on a medal that the very first Bishop of Derby, Bishop Edmund Pearce, had struck to celebrate this new beginning.
Medals were presented to distinguished members of the Diocese and to all those being confirmed in that year.
Now, it is a replica of this medal that is mounted in the form of a badge and awarded by the diocesan bishop to acknowledge outstanding service.