Winners of our 2020 Volunteer Awards Announced

14 Feb 2020

The seven award categories recognised those who had made an outstanding contribution to their local church and community, illustrating the astonishing range of activities and events that take place across our 356 churches.

The seven categories were awarded as follows:

Volunteer of the year for the South-East

Bob Wyard, Oxhey Chapel, Oxhey

Bob has cared for Oxhey Chapel for nearly 20 years and his passion for and commitment to the building are plain to see. He is a fount of knowledge about the history of the chapel and is generous in sharing this knowledge with others, with an engaging and enthusiastic manner that brings stories from the past to life. From acting as the local key holder and facilitating visits for individual visitors, to organising open days for the community, he is keen to make the Chapel accessible for all. This year, he has kindly organised an upgrade to the forecourt, replanting the beds and providing gravel at his own expense to improve the appearance of the Chapel’s frontage.

Volunteer of the year for the West

Rosemary Harvey, St Mary’s Church, Shipton Sollars

Rosemary catalyses positive change at the churches she finds. Just in the last year, at two sites which have been without support for years, her intervention has led to new relationships with two vicars, two communities of neighbours and two groups interested in using the site for events this year. Rosemary also always finds a way to make her team feel looked after too, either by supporting staff initiatives or by helping local residents accomplish the best they can at a church, even if that's a question of planting Christmas trees in the churchyard for reuse each year!

Volunteer of the year for the North

Bill Dove, Holy Trinity Church, Sunderland

Bill has been caring for the church for 31 years now; no job is too big or too small for him!  He plants flowers in spring and summer, empties our water tanks twice weekly, cleans up, gives talks and tours, buys the refreshments, replaces broken windows and arranges flowers for local people to commemorate occasions. He is quite simply amazing, watching over HT from his flat he comes out in all weathers, at all times of the day and night to ensure the church roof isn’t leaking, or if he sees anything suspicious. Not a small feat for a gentleman of advanced years.  He loves HT like its his own home, and cares for it like family!

Volunteer Team of the Year

Friends of St Wilfrid’s, Church Norton

Even though this little chapel can seat a maximum of 35 people, the Friends of St. Wilfrid's have a program of events that encourages visitors, old and new, to come and experience. The chapel is opened every day, cleaned with fresh flowers, and prepare for baptisms and blessings as they occur.

In three years, they have hosted ten theatre performances, and this year, welcomed the Shoreham Chamber Choir to perform. Welcoming over 18,400 visitors in the last year has generated over £3000 to CCT funds, and is all done in a friendly and generous spirit for everyone to enjoy.

Fundraiser Volunteer of the Year

Judi Moran & Ros Rowley, Church of the Holy Cross, Burley

Judi and Ros have been the central driving force in the community of Burley-on-the-Hill. The church is at the heart of their community and they keep it looking immaculate and take care of the day to day. Judi and Ros have been fundraising for the very special clock (1674) by James Knibbs to be repaired. Together with the rest of the group they hosted a very successful fundraising concert in June where they raised £2,600. The group have run many events (with military precision) in the past with very little help - they are fantastic hosts! They have enticed local people to give generous donations, not being afraid to 'make that ask' and in just a few months have raised £6000 to repair the clock. We have now been awarded £2000 by the Joseph Patson Trust for the remainder of the repair work and Ros and Judi are already thinking about the celebration gathering.

Digital Volunteer of the Year

Stuart McLaren, St Augustine, Norwich

Stuart has volunteered mostly single handedly at St Augustine’s for around 20 years and has a real in depth knowledge of the church and it’s history. Harnessing the power of social media, Stuart has created a Facebook page for the church with the aim of encouraging local residents to learn about their local historic church and more importantly, to get involved! In a bid to share information about the church more widely and reach new audiences, Stuart helped to support the opening of St Augustine’s for Heritage Open Days last year and even appeared on BBC Radio Norfolk's Treasure Quest Show to talk about the church and it’s community both past and present.

James Wilding, Wiltshire Area Volunteer

James has produced three online audio guides for churches in Wiltshire (Alton Priors, Leigh Delamere and Old Dilton) making a free virtual tour of the building accessible to anyone. He has also set up several geocaches and used Google Maps to signpost visitors to other nearby CCT churches.

Young Volunteer of the Year

James Giles, St John on the Wall, Bristol

James completed his Duke of Edinburgh award with us at St John on the Wall, acting as a Visitor Welcome Volunteer, with the support of his mother, Nicola. James joined our team of regular volunteers in opening the church to visitors on weekends between October 2018 and May 2019, allowing hundreds of visitors to see this beautiful building.


Read more about volunteering at the Churches Conservation Trust