Leader of St Petrocs for 20 years, Steve Ellis has been awarded the Trelawny Plate, the prestigious Cornish award, at a special service held near the home of Trelawny's living descendants in Pelynt.

The plate, awarded biennially, is presented to the person who has ‘contributed most to the spirit of Cornwall’. Unique to Cornwall, the Trelawny Plate is chosen by a committee of senior Cornish figures led by Colonel Bolitho, Lord-Lieutenant of Cornwall as a mark of significant recognition in the county.


Steve has been chosen to receive the award following 20 years of outstanding leadership of St Petrocs, working tirelessly to support some of the most vulnerable people in Cornwall. Under his stewardship the charity has played a major role in addressing the issue of homelessness in the county and has become one of the most widely respected organisations in Cornwall and beyond. Steve has recently stepped down from the Chief Executive role, which he has held since 2002, and continues his involvement with St Petrocs as Vice President.

The Lord-Lieutenant’s office commented “His exceptional work, his campaigning and his compassion for people facing great difficulty, single him out as a remarkable community leader, fully deserving the accolade of holder of the Trelawny Plate.”

The special service of thanksgiving and celebration was led by Revd Richard Allen, vicar of St Nun Parish Church, and is especially arranged to reflect the culture and achievements of the recipient. This year included songs sung by Pelynt Academy Choir and Trelawny Male Voice Choir. Two poems written by people connected to St Petrocs were translated into Cornish by Deputy Grand Bard Jenefer Lowe and read to the congregation. 

Donna Birrell of Premier Christian radio led a reflection about Steve's personal and professional achievements: “Steve has enriched the county with the qualities which touch the hearts of those who are blessed to know and work with him. If you think of the best qualities in a human being, then we see them all together in one person right here. It is not an exaggeration to say that Steve has changed the lives of not hundreds, not thousands but tens of thousands of people over the last 35 years or so.”

On receiving the award, Steve said: “This is truly a humbling yet totally rewarding experience. This means so much to my family, myself and everybody associated with St Petrocs. I take the responsibility of being the recipient of the Trelawny Plate not only as life-defining but also an inspiration to be worthy of the award.”

On behalf of St Petrocs, Chief Executive Henry Meacock said “This well-deserved recognition of Steve’s leadership of St Petrocs and his dedication to his work in the homelessness sector is a great honour. We are proud to be able to celebrate this acknowledgement of Steve’s lifelong vocation alongside him and his family at such a prestigious occasion.”

The plate originally belonged to Bishop Trelawny, who was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1688, and has been donated by the Bishop's descendant Sir John Trelawny. The original plate is displayed at the Royal Cornwall Museum and each recipient receives a replica. First presented to Bishop Bill Ind in 2005, previous notable recipients also include Lady Mary Holborrow, James Staughton of St Austell Brewery and Gareth Churcher of Cornwall Music Trust.