Fulwood pensioner Nancy Talbot celebrated her achievement at Windsor Castle last Thursday.
The 79-year-old, who is originally from Ribchester, was nominated for 30 year's service to the Parish of the Risen Lord. She volunteers as a pastoral assistant at St Matthew’s Mission in Acregate Lane, St James’ Church in Knowsley Street and St Matthew’s Church in New Hall Lane.
Nancy said: “It was a shock. I didn’t know anything about it until I got the letter from Buckingham Palace. I was overwhelmed and touched to be given this award. I’m really delighted. I feel it is for everyone [in my team] and that’s special.
“It was such a privilege to go down and receive these coins. Prince Charles was very nice, and we met so many friendly people who welcomed us.
“They said, ‘We just want it to be special.’
“And it was.”
Nancy was raised on a farm and would deliver milk by horse and cart with her brother. She joined her parish around 60 years ago as a volunteer at the former St Mary's Church in St Mary's Street.
At 27, she trained to be a social worker, helping to protect vulnerable children in Lancaster for 25 years. And later, she became a safeguarding advisor for the Diocese of Blackburn before retiring at 70.
As a church volunteer, Nancy also helped set up a careline identifying people who needed food parcels during lockdown, saying: “Some people were so lonely. They had friends and family in the hospital and couldn’t get to them. They were hungry for contact. Some people had not been able to go out properly for two years.”
Speaking about her passion for helping people in her community, which includes victims of domestic violence, she added: “I feel I get something back from them. It’s very challenging but life is never boring and the work gives me the courage to go on when I see someone who’s been able to change their life. It stops you getting older and bored.
“Last week, I met a lad who I’d placed up for adoption as a baby and is now a dad himself. It was lovely to see how well he is doing.”