Volunteers of the Year 2015 announced

22 Jan 2016

The Churches Conservation Trust's annual Volunteer of the Year Award ceremony took place this afternoon (22nd January) at the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden. 

The Awards are held each year and aim to recognise and celebrate the enormous contribution from volunteers across the country in keeping nearly 350 historic churches open and at the heart of the community, and were once again sponsored by the Marsh Christian Trust, and generously hosted by the London Transport Museum.

The winners were:


  • Neil Skelton BEM (above) who was awarded West Region Volunteer of the Year for his relentless work to revive St Giles, Imber a church on Salisbury plains in Wiltshire within a 100 square mile military training area. He motivates a dedicated team of volunteers and has seen numbers rising year on year at the open days he organises at the church. He was recently awarded a BEM for his commitment to St Giles.


  • Richard Haynes (above) who was awarded South East Region Volunteer of the Year for his commitment to a group of churches on the Suffolk borders. Richard is always ready to share his wealth of knowledge and experience of working with old buildings as a result of his years working as a surveyor. He has been particularly supportive of the Friends Group of St Peter’s church in Sudbury.


  • James Hickingbotham (above) who was named North Region Volunteer of the Year for his enthusiastic support of a group of the CCT churches in the West Lindsey area of the East Midlands. His support culminated last year in acting as a volunteer steward and tour guide at Lincolnshire churches for the Trust’s Lincolnshire Historic Church Tour in 2015.


  • Harriet Tupper (above) who received the award for National Fundraiser of the Year as a result of the excellent ‘Pop up Opera’ she organises at St Margaret of Antioch’s church in Leigh Delamere in Wiltshire. In the past two years the event has become a social highlight in the local calendar and has so far raised £1,000 for theCCT.


  • William Sheffield who was presented with the Young Volunteer of the Year award, having spent his 2015 summer holidays from school researching information for a walking route between a cluster of CCT churches in South Oxfordshire.


  • The volunteers at St John the Baptist Church, Bristol, (above) were awarded Volunteer Team of the Year – increased the opening hours of the church dramatically from one afternoon a week to opening an average of 5 days a week in 2015. They are extremely organised and have been driving the in development of the church as a visitor attraction and an event space by training more volunteers, carrying out research and taking over the day to day running of the church and administrative duties. John Bowkett accepted the award on the team’s behalf.


  • The volunteers of Herefordshire won the County Volunteer Team of the Year award for their years of dedication to the CCT's 9 beautiful churches in Herefordshire. Many of these volunteers have been committed to caring for their local church for decades even as many as 60 years! They ensure these churches are kept clean, presentable and welcoming to visitors. Dr Kenneth Keenan accepted the award (above) on behalf of all the Herefordshire volunteers.


Dr Loyd Grossman CBE FSA, Chairman of The Churches Conservation Trust said:

"Many of our churches would not survive if it weren’t for the dedication of our hundreds of volunteers. As Chairman of the Trust, meeting volunteers over the years has been a highlight; I’ve been consistently impressed with the passion they have shown for caring for these important buildings. I am delighted to have the opportunity to show our gratitude for all that they do and to celebrate their achievements at our 5th Annual Volunteer of the Year awards ceremony."

Brian Marsh OBE, Chairman of the Marsh Christian Trust said:

“We set up these Awards with the CCT six years ago in order to recognise the outstanding contributions of individuals in sustaining and passing on vital skills in conservation through collaborative working and sharing best practice. Hopefully the Awards, in a small way, will help raise the profile of this important work and encourage more people to conserve, protect and promote the use of church space.”

Colin Shearer, Director for Volunteering at The Churches Conservation Trust said:

"So much of the vitality of the Trust is down to volunteers whose numbers grow each grow. It’s so important that volunteers feel appreciated and part of that is this annual recognition event made possible by the Marsh Christian Trust. We owe them an immense debt of gratitude."

We are extremely grateful to the Marsh Christian Trust whose support makes the awards possible and to the London Transport Museum for their generous hosting of the event.



Volunteer with The Churches Conservation Trust