Environmental Group chair at St Catherine’s Church, Burbage, Vicky Gilbert (pictured) was selected as a recipient of Maundy Money – a tradition dating back to 600AD. She’d been nominated by her Rector, Father Andrew Hall.
Each year the Queen visits a different cathedral for the Maundy event. This time it was Leicester – the only cathedral she hadn’t visited for that occasion during her reign. As well as meeting the Queen, Vicky was invited to share her Eco Church experience with Buckingham Palace. ‘St Catherine’s became the first parish church in the country to gain a Gold Award,’ she proudly explained.
Eco Church Manager Nigel Hopper was delighted with the news. ‘Such attention may be regarded as a once-in-a-lifetime moment, but for Vicky it’s a journey going back 30 years when she simply set up a Fairtrade stall in church with her daughter,’ he said. ‘Any church could follow her lead.’
Vicky formed the church’s Environment Group following a special day on green issues 13 years ago. Since then, the group has run ‘green fayres’, Fairtrade breakfasts, wildlife and environmental talks, walks and trips. ‘The church acts as a recycling point, we collect for the local Foodbank, and encourage the congregation to be environmentally aware,’ Vicky shared with the Palace.
They’ve created a wildlife garden with area for reflection, recycled plastic bench, plants and homes for wildlife, and installed cycle racks. The church has ground-source heating. Their toilets are twinned with one in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and one in Guatemala.
Vicky hopes to go to Tanzania next year to link St Catherine’s with a parish in the Diocese of Mount Kilimanjaro. She’s a member of Hinckley Fairtrade Forum and Leicester Diocesan Environment Group.