Leeds reverend attends Queen's Platinum Jubilee thanksgiving service having been awarded MBE for services to city

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A reverend from Leeds was in attendance at the Queen's Platinum Jubilee thanksgiving service, having been awarded an MBE for his services to the city during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Reverend Jon Swales MBE of St George's Church helped to establish Lighthouse West Yorkshire, a charity which provides support to those 'battered and bruised by the storms of life'.

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The pandemic exacerbated the struggles of some of the most vulnerable in society and Reverend Swales worked tirelessly as part of Lighthouse to provide support.

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Reverend Jon Swales MBE was invited to London for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.Reverend Jon Swales MBE was invited to London for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
Reverend Jon Swales MBE was invited to London for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

He said: "It's certainly an honour for the charity which I've worked with - we don't do it for the recognition, we do it to see lives being changed."

The thanksgiving service was held at St Paul's Cathedral, although the Queen herself was not present having experienced 'some discomfort' during Thursday's celebrations.

Reverend Swales said: "My day-to-day job is working with people who have nothing and during the pandemic, people were locked down in flats where they didn't have a kettle, they didn't have an oven, they didn't have internet, they didn't have a bed.

"This is very different to now, when I'm going into a swanky hall with the elite of the nation. It's very different to my normal day job but an honour!"

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Lighthouse extend a helping hand to people suffering with various issues, including homelessness, eviction and criminality.

Reverend Swales said: "Lighthouse started in 2014 with a few others and it's really a Christian community for those who are battered and bruised by the storms of life, or we might say adults with multiple and complex needs. Homelessness, eviction, criminality, mental health issues.

"We see a couple of types of miracle at Lighthouse. One is a quick miracle where we can meet someone who is living in a car park, shooting up heroin and quite quickly they can get themselves clean and get them into accommodation. We see those type of miracles and they're amazing but they're rare.

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"The other miracle we see is what we call a slow burn miracle. We have a motto at Lighthouse - 'in the presence of love, there's always change'.

"As we love people and they open themselves up to being loved and loving others in the community, we see a slow burn miracle where people are transformed and live life with more meaning."

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