"I WASN'T surprised - I was flabbergasted," she says. Carol
Stewart (centre in photo) could not believe it when she
received a phone call asking if she would go to London to receive
one of the National Christian Youth Work (NCYW) Awards. "I told
them they'd got the wrong person."
The 74-year-old was, in fact, named Volunteer of the Year, and
the award was presented at the London School of Theology. The
judges were a panel of youth-work practitioners, lecturers, and
young people, and the nominations had come in from the public.
They were looking for someone "who has shown exceptional
commitment to Christian youth-work, freely offering their time and
energy to serve young people . . . [and] is passionate, skilled,
reliable, and servant-hearted". And the young people whom Ms
Stewart has worked with for 40 years, at All Saints', Ilkley,
apparently consider her to be just that.
One of them said: "I still consider Carol one of the top three
role-models in my life, and will for ever be grateful for her love
and sacrifice." Another said: "She makes the Bible and Christianity
relevant, and knows how to make us sit up and listen" One of her
proposers, Sarah Lorimer, says: "We are all very proud of her, and
this is just a small way of thanking her for the way she has
influenced our lives, and giving her the public recognition she
Her work at All Saints' started in 1975 with a Pathfinders
group; then came Discoverers, a midweek activity for young
children, and also a Sunday-night group for 13-18 year-olds; and,
as recently as 2010, she started yet another midweek Bible study
for the same age range.
Two of the five NCYW awards were won by people in
Bradford diocese. Adie Hinsley, who works in the
Laisterdyke area of Bradford, was named Youth Worker of the