Rescued Leicestershire church wins English Heritage award

The Church of St James the Greater(Photo: English Heritage)

A Leicestershire church that was nearly permanently closed down has won this year's Angel Award for the Best Repair of a Place of Worship.

The English Heritage Angel Awards were founded by Andrew Lloyd Webber to celebrate the efforts of local people in rescuing damaged or delapitated buildings of interest.

The Angel Award for the Best Repair of a Place of Worship went to the St James's Restoration Fund and Parochial Church Council for its work in saving the Church of St James the Greater, Ab Kettleby, in Leicestershire.

The Grade II listed church was forced to close just before Christmas 2006 due to structural movement and its permanent closure and sale were being seriously considered.

It was added to the Heritage At Risk Register in 2011 but the local community rallied round and set out with determination to raise the necessary funds for its repair.

Fundraising activities included music concerts, crazy cricket and selling locks of hair from the famous racehorse, Desert Orchid.

Other Angel Awards presented this year included:

  • Angel Award for the Best Rescue of an Industrial Building or Site - Malcolm and James Nattrass for Low Slit Mine, Bishop Auckland, Co Durham
  • Angel Award for the Best Rescue of any Heritage building or site - Ivy House Community Pub Limited for the Ivy House Public House, Southwark, London
  • Angel Award for the Best Craftsmanship Employed on a Heritage Rescue - Vivat Trust / Save Hadlow Tower Action Group for Hadlow Tower, Tonbridge, Kent
  • Angel Award voted for by English Heritage followers and Telegraph readers - Vivat Trust / Save Hadlow Tower Action Group for Hadlow Tower, Tonbridge, Kent

The panel of judges comprised English Heritage chief executive Simon Thurley, The Telegraph's Charles Moore, historian Bettany Hughes, architect and TV presenter George Clarke, and the Bishop of London Dr Richard Chartres.

The awards were presented at a ceremony in London on Monday attended by Lloyd Webber and the judges.

Addressing a packed audience at the Palace Theatre, Lloyd Webber said: "Every year the Angel Awards bring more and more outstanding heritage rescue projects to public attention and I am delighted that through the Angel Awards we can properly celebrate the people involved.

"This year's winners have shown courage, tenacity and perseverance and have saved listed buildings and historic ruins from being lost to posterity. Now these places have a future. They will uplift and enlighten all who come across them and will be cherished by their communities for generations to come."


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