Last Updated on 21 March 2023 by Ann-Marie Nye
A savvy tech expert, a passionate helper, and a thoughtful act of kindness have netted three young people a Lundie Memorial Award.
Throughout the year Castle Hill United Reformed Church (URC), in Northampton in the East Midlands Synod, provides food hampers for those in the community who are in need.
The church’s minister, the Revd Liz Adams nominated 12-year-old Tommy Smith who became the March recipient of the Lundie Memorial Award for his participation in the church’s community outreach.
“A selfless, thoughtful act of kindness from a child who has hardships of his own melted my heart and I felt compelled to nominate him for this award,” said Liz.
At Christmas, the church provided small gifts for children and food, allowing families to have all that’s needed for a traditional dinner.
In the past, the church has donated scarves, hats and pyjamas. This year Tommy suggested, due to the energy crisis, that blankets would be useful to keep the children warm and reduce the need for the heating to be turned on.
This was deemed an excellent suggestion and so the church applied for a grant and managed to purchase 210 blankets.
Tommy took it upon himself, with his mum’s help, to wrap all 210 blankets. When asked why he offered to wrap them all, he said: “I wrapped the blankets so that all the children had something to open on Christmas Day that would then keep them warm.
“I felt happy when wrapping them as I was thinking about who they would be going to and if they would like them. I was very tired at the end.”
Tommy said he felt proud to receive the award as he’d only offered to get involved to help children who may not have anything else.
He plans to meet with Liz to discuss how to use the £100 award.
Sixteen-year-old Jemimah White, from Southern Synod, is February’s Lundie Memorial Award receipient.
Jemimah was nominated by Lorraine Webb, Children’s and Youth Work Programme Officer.
After meeting at the Big Speak Out at General Assembly in 2020, Lorraine who nominated Jemimah, said: “I was impressed with Jemimah’s compassionate and supportive nature towards others gathered there, her faith and her openness.”
Jemimah has always had a passion for helping others. Long before she could remember, she started challenging herself to focus on at least one project a year. The project would usually involve creating something for a charity, making things to be sold for the charity or general fundraising.
One recent project saw Jemimah knit 253 hats for premature babies, all within a year.
Another such project involved making and selling jam at local coffee mornings, the proceeds going to an Alzheimer charity, Jemimah had seen first-hand the consequence of this condition and felt compelled to help.
“By helping the charity, it’s like I am helping my loved one,” said Jemimah
For work, at Tilford’s Rural Life Living Museum, Jemimah needs to wear black, but once a month she will wear a different bright colour and donate that day’s earnings to a different charity.
She hopes the bright colour will prompt conversation with others about the charity itself.
If that wasn’t enough, Jemimah is also planning on knitting scarves on her grandmother’s loom and selling them through social media and possibly a stall at church. The proceeds would then go to War Child.
Jemimah said she didn’t expect to be this month’s recipient, saying: “I’m just doing what everyone should be doing, helping others and making a contribution to the world.
“Everyone can do their little bit to make a difference, everyone is capable of being able to do something to help others.”
Lorraine added: “Jemimah is a role model to many younger children who witness her kindness and her faith. I can think of nobody more worthy of receiving this award and I know that she would put the money to good use.”
Jemimah hopes to divide her £100 award with half going towards purchasing some wool for her latest fundraising venture and the other half to go to Ronald McDonald Housing Charity.
Fifteen-year-old Joel Wood, from the United Reformed Church (URC) Eastern Synod, is January’s recipient.
Joel became involved with the tech side of Linton Free Church in Cambridgeshire, which, like so many others, turned to digital services during lockdown.
Joel’s varied skills ensured that services could be livestreamed and were as dynamic as possible, often including video, projection, and seamless continuity.
Once out of lockdown, Joel continued to donate his time from setting up and tidying away equipment, to volunteering as a cameraman and creating and uploading content from the service to YouTube.
Joel’s skills have gained him recognition outside the church. For example, a video he created of his church’s Light Party, an alternative to Halloween featured on Scripture Union’s website, clocking up nearly 200 views.
Also, in July 2022 while participating in New Wine’s youth event, Luminosity, Joel’s photography skills were noticed by the media team and he gained a place with them, along with a media pass and was hailed the “best photographer on the team”.
Mary Irish, a retired minister and church member of Linton Free Church in Cambridgeshire, who nominated Joel for the award said: “It is so good to see a young person giving so much of his time nearly every Sunday to enable worship to happen for all ages.
“He is an extremely talented photographer who has the knack of taking photos and making videos which appeal to all ages, give a message, and which have contributed to the growth of the church.”
Joel said he was “surprised to win” and was happy when told the news. He will be talking to his youth group about how best to spend his £100 award.
Check out Joels skills on Linton Free Church’s Facebook page.