Honours recognition for Hilary
A Baptist who has had a transformative effect on the lives of thousands of children has received a British Empire Medal (BEM)
Hilary Terry, a member of Sutcliff Baptist Church, has co-ordinated a holiday Bible club for more than 20 years in Olney, Buckinghamshire.
The club is an ecumenical event, held over five mornings and one evening barbecue one week in August.
It was originally a venture between four churches, attended then by 50 children. Hilary saw the potential to benefit the wider community by expanding and growing it to help others too.
As the club grew so did the number of leaders and helpers. Holiday Bible Club is now a significant community project with a task force of well over 100 adults, and over the years thousands of children, young people and their families have benefitted.
Hilary was awarded the BEM in in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June for services to the community, and was presented with it on Thursday, 26 October, by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher (pictured).
The citation, read by on the night Debbie Brock, herself a Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, at the Awards Ceremony, described Hilary as ‘a dynamic person driven to succeed in all she does, deserving of the respect and admiration her recognition tonight confers.’
It stated that the club is ‘a well-run, safe, fun, learning experience for the many children who attend it.’
One young person gave an insight into the care Hilary gives: 'Holiday Bible Club was full of children singing and laughing but on my first day I felt nervous, it was scary for me, partially deaf and aged five, but of all the hundreds of children there, Hilary came up to me and other new children and introduced herself. She understood how I was feeling and she made me feel safe.'
The citation included details of the input Hilary, a child minder, puts in: each year she sets a theme and writes daily scripts for the leaders of each age group - not to mention the associated age appropriate crafts to keep everybody busy. There's also large scale set designs for the team to create and a daily faith based drama for the young leaders to learn and act out.
The culmination of every Holiday Bible Club week is a family barbeque free to all, in the spirit of the club itself; ‘a fun way for the community to come together through the shared experiences of the children's week.’
‘Hilary has had a positive impact on the life path of many, many people,’ the citation continued, adding that Hilary is well supported supported by husband Ralph (the Sutcliff Baptist Church secretary), her family, her church family, the close team around her and is ‘held in the highest esteem by all’.