We received some brilliant news over the weekend, that Canon Stephen Taylor from Sunderland Minster, who is also Chaplain to the Sunderland Empire, has been awarded the MBE for services to the community in the city. The news is announced just a few days after the arrival his first grandchild, named William Stephen.
Stephen has become a friend over the years and has reviewed for us, using his skills gained as a columnist on the Sunderland Echo. He even arranged for me spend time backstage with him when the tour of My Fair Lady played the Sunderland Empire, this enabled me to write an article on the production as it geared up for an evening performance.
We had received an invitation for a BBQ at his house last night a few weeks ago, but it was only as the news broke during the day that we found the real reason for the celebration.
No doubt there were many other people celebrating their awards last night, but taking things in his stride, Stephen took time to invent a game for our children on his special night. Basically, they had to throw been bags in to the rungs of a ladder lying on the grass. This became so compulsive that all adults were lining up to try their skill and eventually Chris, Stephens Church Warden, and myself. managed to each reach the dizzy heights of nine and were joint winners. With the children having managed seven each immediately and no adult beating them by more than two it was not a victory to shout about.
Stephen, and his wife Julie, set off early this morning to travel to Salisbury to see their grandchild for the first time.