Winners of our 2021 Volunteer Awards Announced

04 Mar 2021

On Wednesday 3 March it was wonderful to welcome over 150 guests to our Volunteer and Community event, held for the first time virtually over Zoom. 

Through our partnership with the Marsh Christian Trust, this annual event celebrates the achievements of volunteers and communities from across the country in supporting and caring for their local historic church through the presentation of the Marsh Volunteer of the Year Awards. Congratulations to all the winners:

North Volunteer of the Year

Janet Hall & John Gill, St John’s, Stanwick, North Yorkshire

As members of the local community, Janet and John have been supporting St John’s for longer than it’s been in the care of CCT. This year, they have found success turning the annual Harvest Festival into a Harvest Exhibition for which the entire community produced exhibits, attracting over 100 visitors. They also helped out with a deep clean of the church to prepare it for a COVID-secure wedding and had a great Heritage Open Days festival, with Janet providing some popular guided tours, as well as producing a series of audio tours about the church and local area.

South-East Volunteer of the Year

Robert Cairns, All Saints’, Wordwell, Suffolk

CCT is incredibly fortunate to have benefited from Bob’s generous support of All Saints’ for over 20 years. Despite the lockdown and subsequent restrictions in 2020, Bob’s support did not waiver and he continued to open the church when possible. Determined to help with the fundraising effort during COVID-19, Bob organised the use of a neighbouring field so that This Is My Theatre could put on a performance of The Three Musketeers to raise funds for CCT.

Dr Natalie Gibson, St Mary the Virgin, Wiggenhall, Norfolk 

St Mary’s contains some items of great historical significance, most notably a pre-Reformation lectern, and has previously been the unfortunate target of heritage crime. Natalie keeps a close eye on the church, opening and closing it at a moment’s notice where required, often using her own initiative to keep this important site safe. Despite Natalie’s keyworker day job as a local GP, she has still found time to check the church and provide us with regular updates. 

West Volunteer of the Year

Pamela Law, St Michael & All Angels, Princetown, Devon

Pam has been a massive support during 2020, helping with the closure of the church after the first lockdown was announced, and later with reopening once restrictions were lifted. Pam regularly empties the donation box, counts visitor numbers, puts fresh flowers in the church, keeps the place looking spick and span, and completes the biannual site inspection form. She also fundraises with the Christmas raffle, helps organise the annual Carol Service, and assists with arrangements for services and visitors.

Fundraising Volunteer of the Year

Friends of All Saints’, East Horndon, All Saints’ Church, East Horndon, Essex

The Friends of All Saints’, East Horndon, have helped to care for this beautiful church for many years. Despite all the challenges they have faced, they continue to bring endless optimism and enthusiasm to the table and are never deterred by setbacks. Their nomination was inspired by events that took place at All Saints’ on New Year’s Eve this year, where the actions of the Friends turned a shocking illegal rave at the church into an inspiring fundraising story.

Volunteer Team of the Year

Holy Trinity Privett Volunteer Team, Holy Trinity Church, Privett, Hampshire 

The team at Privett have always been a strong and proactive team, and this year they have not allowed COVID-19 to hinder their efforts. Over the past year they have worked with the PCC on a project to clear the churchyard, contributed to a Virtual Gin Trail of Hampshire, as part of Heritage Open Days, and hosted their first virtual Christmas Carol Service. This team are not perturbed by any challenges, and work remarkably well with their community and CCT to make the best of their local church. 

Digital Volunteer of the Year

Maria Watson, Hampshire Area Volunteer

Maria created a brilliant trail linking four of our Hampshire churches to the gin industry of the area. The trail featured information gleaned from local volunteers about each church and their connection to gin! Writing her own script, presenting the virtual tour and coordinating the video-editing of the final product, Maria was resourceful and dedicated.

Achieving Impact Through Innovation

Alexander Clark, Holy Trinity Church, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear

Alex is part of SeventeenNineteen’s Cabinet of Curiosity team, taking part in fortnightly Zoom meetings to develop ideas for the interpretation of our silver collection. Alex has been extraordinary in these meetings, helping to carve out space for collaboration and combines his passion for history & heritage with a digital acumen, to reach local Sunderland communities and make sure their voices are heard. 

William King, St Mary the Virgin, Shrewsbury, & St Andrew’s, Wroxeter, Shropshire

William joined the volunteering team three years ago as a Visitor Welcome Steward to assist with meeting and greeting our 70,000 visitors a year. William’s approach has extended beyond St Mary’s to include other CCT churches in the Shropshire area, including St Andrew’s Church in Wroxeter, where he encouraged visitors to walk down to the church to view the Roman Ruins while volunteering with Historic England at their site of Viriconium. This active promotion of other CCT churches will help us to raise awareness of lesser-known sites situated close to prominent visitor attractions and help increase our visitor numbers.

Thank you to all who attended the evening, and to all our volunteers who support their local churches.