Volunteer wins Heritage Hero award

Margaret Faultless, renowned musician and co-leader at the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, has been awarded the prestigious Heritage Hero award by the Heritage Alliance. She was presented the award for her role as Musical Director of the ensemble, Music for Awhile, and its annual music festival at All Saints’ Church in Alton Priors.

As a committed volunteer for The Churches Conservation Trust Professor Faultless has raised more than £35,000 since 1996 from ticket sales of the summer performances held in the church.

In 2017 Professor Faultless spearheaded a fundraising campaign that resulted in the local community, along with supporters of Music for Awhile, raising an additional £15,000 to install an emergency rubberoid roof and alarm system at All Saints’ following a significant lead theft.  

Since the inaugural performance in 1996, the Music for Awhile Summer Festival has attracted musicians from over the world to perform in the ancient church. As well as a dedicated local support base, the renowned annual event is attended by individuals from all over the country who are attracted by world-class music being performed in such a unique historic space.

On Thursday 6th December two other local supporters, Charles and Sue Reiss, accepted the award by the Heritage Alliance on behalf of Margaret at a ceremony in the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich. She used her filmed acceptance speech to acknowledge the support she receives with Music for Awhile and to highlight the issues facing historic churches:

‘I’d like to thank the Heritage Alliance for this award and I accept it on behalf of all the other supporters of All Saints’ in Alton Priors, the wonderful community of friends who help put on the festival each year,  the musicians and audiences of Music for Awhile and our own sponsors – The Cecil King Memorial Foundation - whose funds pay the professional fees enabling all ticket proceeds to go to the church. I hope that the Heritage Alliance can continue to promote awareness and provoke conversations across the UK, recognising the significance of historic churches such as All Saints’ and the need to preserve them for future generations.’

For information about Music for Awhile concerts and to donate towards the new roof at All Saints’ in Alton Priors please contact Blair Chadwick, Community Fundraiser at The Churches Conservation Trust, on [email protected] or 0117 929 1766.