Dunmow gives town award to long-serving reverend

David and Jay Ainge collect their award from Dunmow mayor Phil Milne (left).

David and Jay Ainge collect their award from Dunmow mayor Phil Milne (left). - Credit: Archant

DUNMOW’S great and good came together last week to celebrate the dedication of a much-loved vicar and his wife and their tireless work in the community.

David Ainge and his wife, Jay, were presented with the Town Award by mayor Phil Milne at a ceremony held at the Dourdan Pavilion.

The couple, who have retired from their post and moved to Halstead, were delighted with the honour.

Addressing the audience, Mr Ainge said: “I am used to being on the other end deciding who gets this award, and I was not prepared for receiving the phone call to say I got it.

“It just takes your breath away.”

The award recognised the couple for “their tireless work for ‘Churches Together in Dunmow’ and their dedicated help and support to the many people, organisations and events that have benefitted from their time in Great Dunmow”.

And the former vicar was glad his wife received her own separate honour.

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“For 40 years people will refer to Jay as the vicar’s wife but she does not live in my shadow and she never has done,” said Mr Ainge.

“She is terrific and has had a life of her own in the town which has been much appreciated.”

Cllr Milne spoke of some of the events they have been involved in, which included charity work and the Flitch Trials.

Cllr Milne said: “These are just some of the activities, and I am sure there are many more, that they have performed with distinction and the community of Great Dunmow has greatly benefited.

“Their retirement leaves a large hole and we will miss them, but wish them well in Halstead.”

The mayor especially thanked Mrs Ainge for her contribution to Faith in Action, a charity which works in partnership with churches in Africa.

He also particularly mentioned her help with humanitarian projects for Malawi, and her involvement in Christian Aid activities.

Mrs Ainge said: “I would like to thank all the people involved because they are the ones that make a place so special.”

The Town Award is handed out every year to worthy members of the community.