The work of the indefatigable Albert Smallwoods has been recognised formally by the Diocese of Derry and Raphoe, which held a lunch in his honour at Londonderry’s Waterfoot Hotel on Monday afternoon to acknowledge his work for world development.
Mr Smallwoods, who had chalked up 40 years as a member of Bishops’ Appeal, was accompanied by his wife, Vivian, and the lunch was hosted by the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Rt Rev Ken Good. Also present were the chairman of the Diocese’s Board of Mission and Unity, Rev Canon Paul Hoey, its secretary, Joanne Miller, and board members Sylvia Donnell and Claire Henderson. The chairman of the Church of Ireland’s Council for Mission, Rev Adam Pullen, also attended.
Paying tribute to the guest of honour, Bishop Good described Mr Smallwoods as a stalwart of the Church of Ireland at parish, diocese and central Church levels, and said his contribution to Bishops’ Appeal – and world development – would still be remembered in one hundred years’ time.
Rev Pullen said the work that Mr Smallwoods and his colleagues had done through Bishops’ Appeal had made an impact far beyond this island. He said there were many people around the world whose lives had been improved immeasurably as a result of Albert’s efforts.
Mr Smallwoods has an impressive record of service to the Church and to the wider community. He was a member of Bishops’ Appeal Central Advisory Committee from 1979 until this year, and for eight of those years was the Church of Ireland representative on the Board of Christian Aid. He is a former vice-chairman of the Church of Ireland Youth Council and was Director of the Bishop Eames Community Peace Prize. In 1974 he became the first lay person to chair the Diocesan Youth Council. Next year will mark the fiftieth anniversary of his first formal parish role: he was appointed auditor of the Parish of Glendermott in 1969.
In his other activities, Mr Smallwoods has been a President of the Scout Movement in Northern Ireland and NI President of St John Ambulance; he has served on the Road Safety Council of Northern Ireland and the N. Ireland Home Safety Council; he was named Pensioner of the Year in 2002, Volunteer of the Year in 2005 and was awarded an MBE by the Queen in 1992.