John Lewis joined the St Vincent de Paul Society, better known as the SVP, in 1955, as a member of St Francis of Assisi, Walkergate, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Conference.

He subsequently became a member of two other Conferences in Newcastle, followed by Conferences in Harrogate, Stourbridge and Kingswinford, being President of the last named.

Six Conferences in total! Along the way he was also President of Dudley District.

John decided to retire from active membership in late 2018 and friends felt that this should not just happen without something being arranged to mark his stepping down.

Accordingly, at the end of Mass at Our Lady & All Saints, Stourbridge, on Sunday 20 January, SVP Birmingham Central Council President Clare O’Brien presented John with a specially devised certificate, signed by the SVP National President, recognising and thanking John for his outstanding service over so many years.

Clare also read out a message of greetings and thanks from St Robert’s Conference in Harrogate. A long round of applause followed.

Additionally, John was advised that, rather than present him with a gift, Birmingham Central Council will donate funds to the Indian education appeal, thus giving several young children a year's education in John's name.

SVP members and other parishioners then enjoyed a splendid buffet, organised by members of Our Lady & All Saints, Stourbridge, SVP.