AN ‘inspiring’ priest was amused to be paired with the Queen in a booklet about an exhibition of ‘worthies’ at Stowe House in Buckinghamshire.

The Revd Gussie Walsh, Assistant Priest in the Buckingham Benefice, has been included in the booklet after being nominated by children from St James and St John School. She is part of an exhibition of modern-day worthies, inspired by the Temple of British Worthies at the National Trust property. Originally designed in 1735, the temple has 16 busts of notable characters – 15 men and one woman, Elizabeth I.

So, the team at Stowe has created an installation in the garden, shaped by visitors, which includes 16 new representations of British worthies – 15 women and one man. A booklet accompanying the exhibition states: “St James and St John School, local to Stowe nominated Reverend Gussie as their worthy. She delivers assembly weekly and is fondly known as ‘the crazy Reverend’.”

Gussie, who is set to retire soon, said: “I was utterly, utterly shocked, humbled and felt totally unworthy to be given this honour. I also feel that the wonderful Licensed Lay Minister Sandra Cosby should be in the box with me, if we can both squeeze in, as she has led it with me over the years.”

Gussie says she was amused to see she was on a spread that sits her opposite Her Majesty the Queen in the exhibition booklet.

“I was thrilled to see the school, under the guidance of artist Miranda la Mutanta, had made a lighthouse in the box to illustrate Rend Collective’s My Lighthouse as it is their favourite assembly action song,” says Gussie. “The lyrics to the song, reminding us of how Christ’s light can shine into the darkest of places, were written in the ‘sea’.

“While the booklet goes on to say that I am inspiring person who makes learning fun, I think it is more to the point that it is the children and staff of St James and St John that have inspired me.

“I have loved being with them as we challenged each other to think about God through stories, games, science experiments (that usually go wrong), singing and prayer.

“In truth, the box is more about them than me, as they are the ones who shine Christ’s love in the school community and beyond. I will certainly miss them.”

The modern-day worthies exhibition can be seen until November 9th.