Sidmouth resident Fay awarded MBE for services to the church

Sidmouth resident Fay Wilson-Rudd has been awarded the MBE. Ref shs 24-16SH 8529. Picture: Simon Hor

Sidmouth resident Fay Wilson-Rudd has been awarded the MBE. Ref shs 24-16SH 8529. Picture: Simon Horn. - Credit: Archant

A Christian who has devoted 35 years to pastoral care was ‘overwhelmed and thrilled’ to be named in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours list.

Felicity Wilson-Rudd, better known as Fay, will receive an MBE for her services to the Church of England and to mental health care in Somerset.

Now living in Abbeyfield Court, the former General Synod member is settling in and considering how she can best use her skills in Sidmouth.

Speaking of the moment she learned she was being recognised, the 74-year-old said: “I was totally overwhelmed. I felt undeserving – I’m a fairly ordinary little person who left school at 16. You don’t expect to get such significant recognition of your work.”

That work included leading more than 100 restoration and re-ordering appeals for church buildings, which generated more than £8million, mainly from individuals. She has helped churches and congregations make long-term plans and budgets, during her role as resources adviser to the Diocese of Bath and Wells, as well as assistant stewardship adviser to the Diocese of St Albans.

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She is proudest of her work in mental health, adding: “There’s still so much stigma attached to mental illness. To give people the confidence to realise they can do things others don’t think they’ll succeed at is tremendously rewarding.”

Fay has been in the Queen’s presence on five occasions – once when visiting St James’ Palace and the other times when Her Majesty opened the General Synod.

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“I don’t know which royal will present the award – they might decide I’ve had my share of the Queen,” she said. “I’ll be thrilled whoever it is.”

Fay moved to Sidmouth last August and said: “The parish church is very welcoming. I’m sure as I settle in I will find opportunities to continue the work I’ve done elsewhere.”

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