Congratulations to Bill Merrick & Tommy McGowan of Holy Name Church in Oakley, West Fife, who were awarded Benemerenti Medals by Archbishop Leo Cushley on Sunday.

Tommy has worked tirelessly in Holy Name for well over 50 years. He has been a member of the Society of St Vincent de Paul but his main role has been as a groundsman and handyman.

He has been of great assistance to every parish priest since Father McNay (who was assigned the parish in 1953) including the care and maintenance of the chapel hall and the new church and grounds (opened in 1958). Even now, at the age of 84, Tommy is still active in the form of being Head PassKeeper.

Bill was a member and later president of the parish council – in that capacity he arranged many fundraising events, social events and pilgrimages to Carfin.

He organised Holy Name’s attendance at Pope John Paul II visit to Scotland and is s a longstanding member of the Legion of Mary and, for a time, the SSVP.

He was also responsible for the introduction of the Divine Mercy prayers in Holy Name. He was the first Safeguarding Coordinator in Holy Name and really established the role for his successors. In later years he took on the mantle of Sacristan and altar server until his recent retiral.

Aparish spokesperson said: "Both recipients richly deserve their Benemerenti Medals for outstanding service to Holy Name in Oakley. Both their families enjoyed a congratulatory cake and celebrations after the Mass!"

The papal award was given to them "as recognition of their selfless service to the parish community".

The Benemerenti Medal is awarded by the Pope to members of the clergy and laity for outstanding service to the Catholic Church.

From left: Tommy McGowan, Archbishop Leo Cushley and Bill Merrick at Holy Name, Oakley.