When June Le Cornu, a St Peter’s Church devotee, found out she was ill, she wanted to leave something for the place of worship to which she had dedicated her life.
From a local blacksmith family, she wanted silversmith Bruce Russell to make some silverware, including a wine jug, water jug, chalice and paten in the arts and crafts movement design from around 1860.
Ms Le Cornu died in February, but her love for the church now lives on in the pieces that she wanted designed and made.
Mr Russell said it was the first time in a long time the church would be getting new silver. The pieces took some eight weeks to complete, with the chalice inlaid with 18ct gold.
‘I’ve been working on them all through lockdown,’ he said.
‘Following the style guidance given with the beaten finish, it’s got a heck of a lovely sparkle to it, so when it’s in the church it’s going to really light the place up nice.
‘The family have seen them and they were blown away. It’s nice of them to have done this and nice that they like the finished product.
‘I’ve done work for the Queen, Lady Diana, the Vatican, the Pope, large pieces, that is what I’m about, and they’re all very special,’ he said.
‘The aim for these pieces was to make them unique, one-off and handmade, which is the whole aim of the arts and crafts movement – straight lines and very distinctive.’
St Peter’s rector the Rev. Dr Adrian Datta said Ms Le Cornu was a much loved parishioner and church member with strong family connections to the church and he knew she would have been very pleased with the pieces.
‘When June found out she was ill it was her desire to make a gift to St Peter’s Church, which had been her church all her life,’ he said. ‘We spoke and an idea was formed of commissioning a new communion set that would combine elegance and simplicity – it combines elements of traditional and modern, is easy on the eye and will be a privilege to use.
‘The inscription, Given to the glory of God by June Le Cornu, is a perfect summary of our hope for this special and enduring gift.’
He added that the link between the family, the church and the silversmith made the work extra-special.
‘We were all excited that Bruce was able to take on this commission, especially as he knew June’s father, Stan Le Cornu, who was a much respected St Peter’s craftsman, then Bruce’s mum was the first person to be married at the church after the Occupation,’ he said. ‘It’s a lovely story.’
. A video of some of the pieces being made has been put on YouTube by Mr Russell. To watch, go to shorturl.at/yIW37.