MBE for first female lay minister

    Growing leaders
    1 January 2015


    Margaret Williams, who became the Diocese of Bristol’s first ever female lay minister 40 years ago, has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours for 2015.

    Margaret, a retired headteacher formerly of Lainesmead and Oliver Tomkins primary schools moved to Swindon in 1955 where she became active with Christ Church and went on to become a lay minister in 1974.

    Margaret has known about the honour for six weeks, for which she was nominated by a team of colleagues at Christ Church, including the church’s vicar and area dean, Simon Stevenette. The honour recognises her outstanding voluntary service to the Diocese and the Swindon community

    Margaret says, “I was surprised because I’m sure lots of people have done good things and I don’t consider myself to have done great things, I’m just an ordinary person. Perhaps having been a first female lay minister in this area 40 years ago, I have got stamina.

    “It’s such an honour. This year is becoming a really special one, as the Church has achieved the ultimate. The first woman bishop has been appointed. I was the first piece in the jigsaw 40 years ago in this area. It’s an honour to have been recognised for that.”

    Revd Canon Simon Stevenette comments, "We are absolutely thrilled for Margaret and overjoyed that her amazing years of voluntary support for our Diocese and Swindon have been recognised with a national honour."

    There was a special quarter peal of bells in Margaret’s honour at Christ Church on New Year's Eve.