At the Civic Reception in Thorpe St Andrew on Tuesday 22 October at Thorpe St Andrew Town Hall, hosted by the Mayor of Thorpe St Andrew, Cllr John Fisher, Auriol Hughes, was made a Lady Freeman of Thorpe St Andrew for over 40 years of service to the church and also the wider community. Auriol has been involved in the life of Thorpe St Andrew since 1961, when her mother and family moved here, living in the same house ever since. Auriol worked as a Civil Servant in Norwich for HMSO, but as Auriol signed a declaration under the Official Secrets Act we know very little about this!
Auriol has been involved fully within the life of the Parish of Thorpe St Andrew, for over 40 years. Auriol served as churchwarden for a long period of time, but after retirement from this role she has continued to be very committed to the corporate life of the parish - acting as secretary to the Pastoral Care and Bereavement Group - sending out over 125 invitations to our annual Memorial Service and keeping very accurate records of our work in this field, and also secretary of the Bells, since age prevents her now from climbing the steps of the tower. Auriol has also led intercessions for many years and leads Morning Prayer once a week in the Parish Church. She attends Morning Prayer every morning and on a number of evenings makes the journey from her home to lock the church. She is a regular sight on the Yarmouth Road, doing whatever is needed to be done to continue the work of the parish - delivering magazines, attending Mothers' Union meetings (she is Treasurer of the Thorpe St Andrew Branch) or delivering notes of a meeting which she had taken, all written out in longhand in her best handwriting.
Auriol is a walking encyclopaedia of knowledge of the Parish - and is the first person I turn to if I need to find something out from the past of the Parish. The God whom Auriol puts her faith and trust in is faithful to her but in return she is faithful to him and this community which she is called to serve. In a world of Instagram, selfies and reality TV it could be said that Auriol cuts a rather contrary figure in our community, yet her faithfulness, patience and devotion to service has shone through for all these years. It is my huge privilege to know her and to minister with her and I was delighted to nominate her for this recognition.
On the same evening John Preus and Roy Robson received Civic Awards for many of years of service to the community.