On behalf of Archbishop Bernard Longley, Canon Brian McGinley invested Patricia Soper with the Benemerenti Medal awarded by Pope Francis.

The presentation took place at St Wulstan’s Church in Little Malvern on Sunday 24 November.

The Benemerenti Medal is a medal awarded by the Pope to members of the clergy and laity for service to the Catholic Church.

Patricia’s award is for her services to music at St Wulstan’s since 1969.

Back then she offered to play the organ, and worked closely with Anne Ward, a primary school teacher, who led a small ladies' choir.

Patricia, of Malvern Wells, chose the music in consultation with Anne and continued to play the organ. 

In time Patricia held the double role of organist and music director before Angela Cranmore took over the conducting.

Fr Edward Crouzet, Parish Priest at St Wulstan’s, said: “For some years Angela and Patricia played the organ on alternate weeks until, in 2013, I asked Patricia to let Angela take over, both as organist and music director. 

“Patricia withdrew with characteristic graciousness and continued to sing in the choir under Angela’s direction. 

“For the continuance of our musical tradition from 1969 until 2013, more than anyone else, though always supported by her twin sister Denise, Patricia is responsible.”

Photos courtesy of Howard Rigby and Charlotte Carver:

1. Patricia Soper and family with Fr Edward Crouzet and Fr Christopher Calascione, former parish priest at St Wulstan's
2. Patricia with Angela Cranmore
3. Patricia's investiture, with Canon Brian McGinley