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Wednesday, 03 September 2014

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Carlisle man receives medal from the Pope for services to city church

A man who has worked as a volunteer at his church in Carlisle for more than 60 years has been given a prestigious medal from Pope Benedict XVI.

Keith Clementson photo
Keith Clementson with his medal

Keith Clementson, 80, was given the Bene Merenti medal, which is Latin for “someone who is truly deserving”.

The award was given for his long service to St Margaret Mary’s Church on Scalegate Road in Upperby.

Mr Clementson said: “I asked the priest for a blessing for my 80th birthday when we attended church on Sunday.

“When I went up to the altar with my wife Dolores they presented me with a framed certificate and medal. I was really shocked. I wasn’t expecting it at all. I had no idea.”

Mr Clementson converted to Catholicism when he met Dolores. The couple married at St Margaret Mary’s in 1953. Since then he has helped in the church and helps to distribute the Gift Aid envelopes to parishioners so the church can claim back 25p in every £1 donated.

He is also treasurer with Upperby parish council.

Mr Clementson, who has two daughters and four grandchildren, said all the work to get the medal was done behind closed doors.

He said: “The parish council nominated me and then the Bishop at Lancaster had to approve it before sending it to the Vatican Council in Wimbledon. They have to send it to the Vatican for final approval and then it gets sent back. It took about a year to process and I knew nothing about it. They have to check your background. I understand that three people in the parish have received the award in the past.”

Aston Gilpin, seven, presented the Bene Merenti award to Mr Clementson and a bouquet to his wife.

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