Impressario Andrew Lloyd Webber hosted the prestigious English Heritage Angel awards at a gala evening in London’s West End
Brian Cooke was given plenty of cause for celebration last night, after his project to restore All Saints, Leamington Hastings, won the Best Rescue or Repair of Historic Place of Worship category of the prestigious UK heritage awards, out of a shortlist of 16 incredible projects.
The star-studded awards were hosted by their founder and co-funder Andrew Lloyd Weber at the Palace Theatre – once part of his Really Useful Theatres Group empire. Founded in 2011, The English Heritage Angel Awards recognise the efforts of local groups across the UK who devote hours of their free time into saving derelict and vulnerable historic British landmarks from decay and obscurity.
In addition to Lloyd Weber and Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, the judges included: TV’s ‘Restoration Man’ George Clark, pottery entrepreneur Emma Bridgewater, historian Bettany Hughes and the Bishop of London, the Right Revd Richard Chartres.
The four remaining award categories included: Best Rescue of a Historical Building or Site (The Renewable Heritage Trust for the rescue of Howsham Mill, York), Best Craftsmanship employed on a Heritage Rescue (Adam Wilcockson for craftsmanship at Lincoln Cathedral, south west turret), Best Rescue of Any Other Historic Building or Site (Inayat Omarji for the rescue of All Souls’ Church, Bolton), and last but not least, Winner of the English Heritage Angel Award for the English Heritage Followers’ and Telegraph Readers’ Favourite (Oldland Mill Trust Volunteers for the rescue of Oldland Windmill, Hassocks).
Prehistoric rock carvings on the Yorkshire Moors, a vandalised urban church with hidden murals, one of the last working farrier blacksmith’s in the country, a carpenter talent-spotted while a trainee labourer, an 18th century water mill providing electricity for the national grid and a lost Georgian landscape were just some of the 16 community groups and individuals that reached the Award shortlist back in August.
Members of the public were invited to cast their own votes for the English Heritage Followers and Telegraph Readers’ Favourite Angel Award.
Webber said: “The English Heritage Angel Awards are a highlight of my year. Meeting all the wonderful people on the shortlist, hearing the stories of their rescue projects and seeing the extraordinary range of beautiful and fascinating historic places that they have saved is extremely moving and humbling. They are both enriching their immediate communities and saving national treasures, for which present and future generations will thank them.”
He added: “The Angel Awards get bigger and better each year and I’m delighted that next year will see the first Scottish Heritage Angel Awards running in parallel with the English ones.”
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