"Knock and it shall be opened unto you" aptly describes Mary, 67, a spirited human dynamo who has lived in the parish for nearly 30 years and whose is door is always open to those who need help. She has also helped to open doors for others.
Mary, who has lived in the parish for nearly 30 years, and has been described as “the angel of Cross Green” said: “It’s a nice surprise but a shock as well. It’s really a reward for the whole area. Cross Green is a very diverse community and this shows what can be achieved when we all pull together.”
She was one of the founders of the Wednesday lunch group for vulnerable people which not only feeds 30 to 40 people each week at S. Hilda’s but for them is a place where they can meet, seek advice and be part of a large family atmosphere.
She uses her cellar as a small food bank, as the parish does not have one, and fights for the common good of every individual in the community introspective of colour or creed.
She championed the lack of the number 15 bus service at a meeting of Leeds City Council. She sorts out clothing for people and has been a force in the area’s Growing Together gardening project where food is grown for the benefit of all the community in what is one of the poorest and most deprived parishes in the country.
She has helped to enable the Cross Green Community Hub, the Cross Point Community Cinema.
Her support for the poor and vulnerable also takes her further afield as each Saturday evening she helps out in Leeds feeding the homeless in the City Centre.
She also is a Trustee of Community Unity, and is a member of the Poverty Truth Commission along with Bishop Paul Slater.
When Interim Parish Priest Father Darren Percival arrived in the parish just over two years ago she was his eyes and ears opening up so many doors for him and the church into the community.
“It is wonderful that she has been recognised at long last, and I'm grateful for her commitment to the community of Cross Green, in which as a labourer for His church enables us to build firm foundations in an area that is so often written off by society,” he said.