Celebrating Outstanding Contributions

10 Mar 2022

Every year CCT recognises the incredible support and outstanding contributions of the volunteers who help to care for our churches at the national volunteer and community event culminating in the Volunteer of the Year Awards. Generously supported by the Marsh Charitable Trust, the event took place on 9 March. For the second year in a row, it was held virtually over Zoom.

Once everyone had settled in behind their screens and Judith Patrick, Head of Region, North, had covered all the necessary technological housekeeping, the evening began with a welcome speech by recently appointed new Chair of the Board of Trustees, Liz Peace CBE. Attendees then heard from Peter Aiers, CCT Chief Executive. During his speech, Peter reflected on how impactful the contributions of volunteers had been during his 15 years at CCT and four years as Chief Executive, which would soon be coming to a close.

This was followed by the announcements of the Marsh Charitable Trust Volunteer of the Year Awards winners for each of the seven categories, presented by Annie McCarthy, Trust Manager for Marsh Charitable Trust.


Volunteer of the Year Awards 2022 Winners:

North Volunteer of the Year

Chris Audsley

Seventeen Nineteen

Chris has been volunteering with Seventeen Nineteen since July 2019. Chris is a keen photographer with a love for historic buildings and a huge sense of pride in her city. Chris volunteers through the Allchurches Trust Craft Skills programme which is running during the construction phase of the Seventeen Nineteen project. Throughout construction, Chris has been there with her camera in the dust and dirt capturing photos of the conservation work as it happens and images of the skilled craftspeople and apprentices carrying out their tasks. In addition to creating a huge portfolio of images for CCT use, Chris is a fantastic asset to the project team: she has been reliable, committed and has acted as an advocate for the project within the community.

During lockdown and site closure, Chris continued to volunteer from her own home but as the site reopened she took new safety procedures and ways of working in her stride to enable her to continue her work, ensuring we don’t have a gap in our record of construction. Whilst Chris didn’t volunteer in order to develop her career, her talent and enthusiasm for documenting change in buildings has been recognised by her employer and she is now being paid to photograph a construction project where she works.


South-East Volunteers of the Year

Stuart and Kester Potter

St Andrew's Church, Walpole, Norfolk

Stuart and Kester Potter moved to Norfolk in 2019 with their young children and got in touch with Local Community Officer Kate Roma, after seeing a request for local support.

Stuart had been a church warden at his last church, so he and Kester had some very relevant transferrable skills! They have worked consistently at St Andrew’s, Walpole, to get the church clean – not an easy task due to the stone erosion issue in the building. They open the church to the public on a regular basis and have galvanised more local support to turn St Andrew’s into a community asset. The clock is now working and the quarterly chimes can be heard across this fenland village once more. They have plans for a community exhibition for local people to come and share memories of the church. They opened the church on Remembrance Sunday and were inundated with people who had not been in the church in a long time or had never been inside at all. This Christmas they are planning a community Christmas event offering tea, coffee, mince pies and a warm welcome. Stuart has set up an Instagram page for the church.

Although there is not a formal Friends Group at St Andrew’s, the support Stuart and Kester have given CCT and their ability to drum up more local support means that the future of St Andrew’s is more secure.


West Volunteer of the Year

Peter Simper

Church of St Mary the Virgin in Hemington, Somerset.

Peter is a volunteer at one of our newest vestings, the Church of  St Mary the Virgin in Hemington, Somerset. Peter is always friendly, positive and bursting with enthusiasm about the church and its history. He is a mine of information about the fabric, fixtures and details of St Mary’s, having carried out a huge amount of independent research to compile a vast amount of information about the church. Peter was previously the church warden at the church and has dedicated many years to the care of the building, which he continues to do now. He embraced the transition of the church from the Church of England to CCT and has always been fully supportive and positive about CCT and its work.

Peter organised the Harvest Service to celebrate the reopening of the church after the vesting repairs. He has provided tours of the building to visitors and at CCT events and he organises access for contractors and bellringers when needed. He also helps with arrangements for services, keeps the church looking at its best, facilitates much appreciated support from local donors, and is leading on the creation of new display cases to exhibit beautiful and interesting new finds from the church and the local area.


Fundraising Volunteers of the Year

Peter Lankester and Neil Skelton

St Giles Church, Imber, Wiltshire

Neil and Peter are both long-standing volunteers for CCT, and both were previously staff members too. They have been heavily involved with St Giles’ in Imber, Wiltshire, for over a decade, taking it from success to success since then. The August Open Days at St Giles’ Church in 2021 attracted 4,584 visitors and raised £6,077 in donations, on top of the Imberbus tour taking in over £12,000. Peter Lankester has been working for several years on updating the interpretation in the church, project

managing this process from start to finish, all funded by the Friends of St Giles and their fundraising activities. The new interpretative panels and banners were launched in August this year to glowing approval from visitors.


Volunteer Team of the Year

St Peter's Church, Sandwich, Volunteer Team

Since the church re-opened in April 2021 the CCT's staff member at St Peter's church, Annemarie Huigen, has built a wonderful and dedicated group of volunteers, each with their own skills and specialisms, but all with a love for their town and the church.  The church currently operates as a community 'hub' with a real focus on creating a welcoming space for locals and visitors alike, as well as those interested about the history and architecture of the church.  The volunteers open the church daily and support the CCT with the day-to-day running of the church and any events taking place.

In total there are 17 volunteers at the church, managed by Annemarie, with each of the St Peter's volunteer team having their own 'department'.  Lesley, Paul, Sue, & Daniel look after the St Peter's bookshop and all book donations; Charlotte, Debbie, & Amy look after all toy donations; Sandy, Elaine, & Jenny are in charge of all general donations and resalable items; Bill volunteers with church maintenance, supported by CCT contractors, and John, Margaret, Christine, Debbie, Andy, & Carol look after the main front desk including Tower Tours and welcoming visitors.  The church is also extremely lucky to have a clock specialist, Tim Pettman, who has volunteered many hours keeping the clock and mechanism going at St Peters for over 45 years.

The church is also supported by a wonderful 'gardening team', managed by dedicated community volunteer 'Chris Day', in partnership with Sandwich in Bloom.


Curious Curators

Seventeen Nineteen

Our team of Curious Curators have worked with us from September 2020 to research stories from Holy Trinity and Sunderland and find innovative ways to interpret them.

Virginia Quigley chose to research the children of Sunderland and worked with other volunteers to develop ideas to share her research. She worked with a bookbinder to create a perfectly bound book filled with hand illustrations and meticulous research. Alex Clark started his research on the three pillars of Sunderland’s history: faith, work and football, and hosted live vlogs with expert guests to engage a wide audience of people in his research. Nathan Howard chose to research the Victoria Hall disaster and developed a pop-up paper peep show demonstrating the changing perspectives on the disaster. Ellie Clewlow worked with volunteers interested in the story of the fishwives’ tea party and developed an engagement resource where people could recreate the fish bunting used at the event and learn about the weaving crafts of fishwives. Jessica Hesketh developed four craft packs based on stories from Sunderland that could be used in care homes during lockdown. Tyesha McGann worked with an artist to deliver glass panels decorated with figures from Sunderland’s past. Naim Faiz researched our silver collection and developed a Google Arts & Culture story about the silver artisans of the North East who created the work, with illustrations from Nathan.

The volunteers supported, inspired and challenged one another to work harder, probe deeper and think more widely about how these stories could inspire others. Working digitally and from all corners of the country, they honed their research skills and networked with industry professionals to deliver superb work.


Achieving Impact Through Innovation

Heritage Volunteers, All Saints’, Cambridge

All Saints' Church, Cambridge

All Saints’ Church is a Cambridge treasure. Away from the city centre tourist trail, the visitor numbers have declined in recent years. Heritage Volunteers from the Arts Society Cambridge joined forces with CCT to attract more visitors to All Saints’ Church, Cambridge. This hidden gem, with its highly ornamented, hand-painted walls and iconic stained-glass windows, was designed by George Frederick Bodley, with contributions from other luminaries of the 19th-century, including William Morris, Charles Eamer Kempe and Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones. It is amongst the finest examples of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture in the country.

The volunteers decided to organise a range of events and activities to put the church back on the map. Despite delays due to COVID, one of the projects was finally launched with October Fest 2021, a series of very successful recitals held at the church every Sunday in October. These recitals reached audiences who had never visited the church before, and the outstanding quality of the music has since established All Saints’ as a music venue in Cambridge. The volunteers have also started guided tours of the interior of the church.


Digital Volunteer of the Year


St Peter's Church, Sudbury, Suffolk

Mackman is a local marketing agency in Sudbury which has provided, free of charge, a complete rebranding and website for St Peter’s, Sudbury, at a crucial time as the church undergoes a major National Lottery Heritage Fund-supported regeneration project. Mackman has been growing and supporting St Peter’s digital presence since 2018 and has pledged to continue with this as we move through the next three years of the project. Whilst Director Paul Mackman himself has been a key driver, we know that he would want to recognise his whole team at Mackman who have all played a part in supporting CCT, as a team rather than an individual.

As part of their drive to support charities, the team at Mackman have provided all of their services on a pro bono basis, which has been outstanding, and no doubt played a vital part in raising local, regional and national awareness of the project and of CCT, and in helping us to exceed our match-funding targets. Crucially, the new branding, website and digital activity via social media has helped us to encourage new and younger visitors, audiences and volunteers who would traditionally be unengaged to come forward to help at St Peter’s. Mackman also actively encourages its own staff members to volunteer for local charities, and St Peter’s has benefitted from this too by way of events stewards, musicians and social media gurus!

Thank you to all who attended the evening, and to all our volunteers who support their local churches, without whom this work would not be possible.


Marsh Charitable Trust Logo