The Rector of Faughanvale, Rev Canon Paul Hoey, has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for “Services to the Community in Eglinton, Londonderry” during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Canon Hoey initiated the Eglinton Churches Together response to the crisis, which brought church members and the local community together to support people in the Eglinton and Greysteel areas who were self-isolating or feeling vulnerable. Volunteers collected and delivered shopping to their neighbours, picked up medicines and other urgent supplies, and posted mail. The local Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland churches nominated ‘contact persons’ who stayed in touch by telephone with anyone who was feeling lonely or anxious.
Canon Hoey – who was following in the footsteps of his late mother in receiving an MBE – said his honour should be seen as shared by other clergy and by the wider community. “I am humbled and, indeed, astonished to have been awarded an MBE for services to the Eglinton community,” he said. “I have served as Rector of Faughanvale for five years now and during that time have seen the community coming together as one to overcome challenges that would defeat many others.
“I hope the award will be seen as a shared honour by the many who have worked with me for the good of the local community, especially my colleagues in ministry, Rev Lindsay Blair and Father Noel McDermott; the staff and helpers at Eglinton Community Centre; and the many volunteers who have given so selflessly of their time and energy to ensure that shielding and vulnerable people have been supported during the pandemic. Most of all, it is a tribute to the resilience and generosity of the people of Eglinton.
“On a personal note, I am honoured and moved to be following in the footsteps of my late mother who received the same award many years ago.”
Canon Hoey was congratulated by the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Rt Rev Andrew Forster. “I congratulate Canon Paul Hoey on being honoured by Her Majesty the Queen,” the Bishop said. “The award is richly deserved and a great tribute to the positive impact that he has had during his five years as Rector of Faughanvale. I hope this award will serve as an encouragement to Paul and his colleagues of other denominations who have jointly modelled compassionate and practical faith in their communities. I hope that it will also encourage the villagers of Eglinton and Greysteel, who have responded with remarkable resilience and generosity to the challenges of flood and pandemic, in recent years, setting an inspirational example to us all.”