The United Reformed Church is celebrating a second remarkable achievement at the London Olympics. After Lizzie Armitstead’s success as Team GB’s first medallist, Jenni Pinches, aged 18, was a member of the women’s gymnastic team who achieved their best result in the post-war era, finishing sixth in the final at the North Greenwich Arena.
Jenni’s family are at the centre of church life at Trinity Church, Cheadle, Cheshire, which is a joint URC and Methodist congregation.
The family played a key part in getting Jenni to the Games. Living in Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire, going to school in Macclesfield and training in Liverpool, entailed considerable travel and family members covered many miles.
Three generations of her family worship at the church: her grandparents, Fraser and Linda Ross, and her uncle, Andy Ross, are serving members of the Church Council; her father, Ian, is one of Trinity’s musicians; and her three brothers, Jonathan, Harry and Oliver, are, like Jenni, all members of the Junior Church. Jenni’s paternal grandfather, the Revd Bryan Pinches, is a retired Baptist minister. Our picture shows Jenni (front right) with her parents and brothers.
The minister at Cheadle, the Revd Geoffrey Clarke, said: “It is a wonderful reward for so much hard work and dedication. Jenni and her family are held in high esteem, and members of the congregation, of all ages, have been following her progress with great interest. There is just one topic of conversation here at the moment: Jenni! .”
Bridge United Reformed Church in the Yorkshire market town of Otley is also celebrating Lizzie Armitstead’s silver medal in the women's road race, the first medal won by Team GB.
Lizzie grew up at Bridge where she was in junior church and the scout group. Her parents, John and Carol, are church members and Lizzie's grandfather, the Revd Jeff Armitstead is a retired URC minister.
Leading up to the Games, members of the church all signed a card which they sent to Lizzie, wishing her well. The congregation rushed home from morning worship to watch the race.