Two members of Our Lady & St Anne Line church receive honour for exceptional service from the Pope

PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 October 2020

Margaret Howett and Claire Reeve were awarded a Papal Benemerenti medal and scroll for their long and exceptional services to the Dunmow catholic community. Picture: DICKY HOWETT

Margaret Howett and Claire Reeve were awarded a Papal Benemerenti medal and scroll for their long and exceptional services to the Dunmow catholic community. Picture: DICKY HOWETT

Dicky Howett

Two members of a Dunmow church have been awarded an honour by the Pope for their long and exceptional service to the Catholic community.

The Papal Benemerenti medal and scroll awarded to Margaret Howett and Claire Reeve in the Dunmow catholic community. Picture: DIOCESE OF BRENTWOODThe Papal Benemerenti medal and scroll awarded to Margaret Howett and Claire Reeve in the Dunmow catholic community. Picture: DIOCESE OF BRENTWOOD

Margaret Howett and Claire Reeve received a Papal Benemerenti medal and scroll, which were presented by Father Martin Nott at Our Lady & St Anne Line church.

Originally established as an award to soldiers in the Papal Army, the Papal Benemerenti medal was later extended to the clergy and lay people. Literally translated Benemerenti means ‘well merited’, or person of ‘good merit’.

The medals are sparingly given to those who have given at least 25 years of dedicated service.

Recipients are nominated by the parish priest. Those nominations go to the Bishop for endorsement and then on to Rome for consideration.

In the course of his 15 years in the parish, Fr Martin has nominated four parishioners.

He said: “I am very pleased to present these two medals. The parish is very proud of both Claire and Margaret.”

Both Claire and Margaret received their medals at a midweek Mass.

Claire said: “I felt quite emotional. I was brought up in Dunmow and there is plaque to my parents in the church. They were fantastic role models who inspired me to carry on and help where I can. This is such an honour - mum and dad would have been so proud.”

Claire has been a tireless fundraiser for the parish and for charities like Macmillan.

Margaret has worked on safeguarding and supporting liturgy, both at Dunmow for the last two decades and at her previous parish in Chelmsford, dealing with the rotas and safeguarding checks for the readers and Eucharistic ministers, visiting the housebound, and representing the parish on Churches Together in Dunmow and on the Deanery Pastoral Council.

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During Fr Martin’s 18-month absence through illness, Margaret worked with others to run daily Eucharistic services.

She said: “A lot of what we do is very much about teamwork. If other people don’t help, you don’t get anywhere.”

Claire has run the parish 100 Club for 29 years, raising around £40,000 – half of which has gone out in prize money.

Claire has organised dances, socials and quiz nights with the proceeds split between the parish and local charities, is a stalwart for Macmillan Cancer Support and a member of the Catholic Women’s League.

Claire said: “We have a wonderful community in Dunmow and I have great support from parishioners and others. Despite the coffee morning being a non-event this year due to Covid, we raised £1,600 for Macmillan.”


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