Tributes to Eccleshall couple as they move elsewhere

Parisioners at a church in Eccleshall held a special service recently to give two community stalwarts a fond farewell.

John And Gill Pinney. Photo: Councillor Peter Jones
John And Gill Pinney. Photo: Councillor Peter Jones

John and Gill Pinney had lived in Eccleshall for over 30 years, but have now moved to Dorchester to be closer to family.

Their friends say they will leave a large gap in the church community, and will be sorely missed.

To mark the couple’s combined 66 years of service, churchgoers at Eccleshall’s Holy Trinity Church held a presentation on Sunday 24th July, led by lay co-chair of the parochial church council (PCC) David Beswick.

The couple have held numerous roles at the church, and a collection was organised to send them off with gifts and warm wishes.

One of the parting gifts was a rose, named Lichfield Angel, by which the couple will be able to remember their time in Staffordshire.

Councillor Peter Jones is chair of the Eccleshall Parish Council, and deputy mayor of Stafford Borough Council.

He commented: “They’re nice people. They’re good Samaritans – if you wanted somebody to give you a hand with something, they were the couple you would ask.

“They were involved in everything – they were there all the time.

“Everything that was going on, they were involved in it – taking part in it; helping organise it; fundraising; whatever.

“They’re good folk, and you don’t meet a lot of good folk these days.”

David Beswick thanked John and Gill for all they’d done over the years to support the community.

He said: “So many people were present and wanted to convey their thanks to them.

“They came to live in this parish 33 years ago, from Rochdale.

“They quickly immersed themselves into the local community, and particularly within the church.

“They were very keen to support the local church, and they got themselves involved in so many things.”

Over the years, Gill took on various roles – including secretary of the PCC secretary, parish rooms and Eccleshall Deanery Synod.

She also organised lunches for older people as well as coffee mornings, and she helped with catering for community social events.

She led Bible study groups and visited sick people, and also supported Staffordshire Young Farmers, as well as volunteering for Katharine House Hospice.

Mr Beswick said: “She is a very, very genuine person who is very conscientious about looking after the elderly.”

John was also very active within the church community. He was a member of the local men’s fellowship, and is said to have worked hard for the community for more than three decades in Eccleshall.

During the pandemic, the couple helped out with shopping and carrying out wellbeing visits.

“So many people looked upon them as being guardian angels in a sense. They were very keen to do thing of the local community and got themselves immersed in so many things.

“They will be sadly missed.”

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