Andrew Lloyd Webber Names Angel Award Winners
Ex-soldiers excavating a spitfire crash site, a construction supervisor at Dudley Zoo, a young man saving a derelict hospital, a couple helping to regenerate Goole, a local trust restoring Clevedon Pier and a charity helping to maintain a conservation area are all celebrated as winners.
Andrew Lloyd Webber joined Historic England to announce the winners of this year's Angel Awards. The awards, presented with fellow judge Bettany Hughes, are a celebration of the unsung heroes who work tirelessly to save our heritage. The ceremony featured a special appearance by Julian Fellowes, the writer and executive producer of 'Downton Abbey' who was there to present the People's Favourite Award.
Special appearances were also made by TV journalist and news presenter Fiona Bruce and Art Historian Philip Mould who presented awards at the glittering ceremony at The Palace Theatre in London.
Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch said: "These awards celebrate the inspirational people who have worked so hard to preserve our nation's heritage and who encourage others to get involved. Heritage tells us so much about the nation's history and the Angel Awards recognises the fantastic projects that ensure it can be seen and understood by people for many years to come."
Andrew Lloyd Webber said: "I would like to congratulate everyone who has been shortlisted for an Angel Award for their dedication to saving England's historic buildings and places - often working on their own initiative, without outside help or funding. These awards shine the spotlight on their brilliant and inspirational work."
Duncan Wilson, Historic England Chief Executive, said: "The show was all about recognising the volunteers and groups who do so much to help rescue our heritage for future generations. We are surrounded by historic buildings and places that help tell the story of who we are, but many depend on local volunteers for their very survival. These awards celebrate the vital work of those heritage heroes."
The awards are judged by Andrew Lloyd Webber, ceramics manufacturer Emma Bridgewater, TV's Restoration Man George Clarke, the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, historian Bettany Hughes and Historic England's chief executive Duncan Wilson.
Aon Estates Practice is sponsor of the Outstanding Contribution to Heritage and The National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS) is sponsor of the Best Community Action Project.
The Telegraph is media partner for the awards, which are funded by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.
The winners of the 2016 Angel Awards are:
Best Community Action Project: Operation Nightingale, Netheravon Barrows, Spitfire P9503 Crash, Wiltshire, South West
Sponsored by the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS)
Since 2011 Operation Nightingale has helped service personnel who have fought for the British Armed Forces recover using archaeology. The project has worked on archaeological sites across Britain and overseas. Three of the soldiers involved have now gone on to work as professional archaeologists, one has achieved a First Class honours degree in archaeology from Exeter University, and many have declared a lifelong love of archaeology as a result.
Richard Osgood Senior Archaeologist, Defence Infrastructure Organisation, Ministry of Defence said: “It’s a really nice surprise to win this award. It’s a huge testimony to the men and women of the British Armed Forces that their skill sets outside of the military environment are also of huge benefit to the nation. If heritage and archaeology can improve people’s lives – what a gift!”
Best Rescue of a Heritage Site: Julie and Howard Duckworth, Goole, East Riding of Yorkshire
Since 1983 husband-and-wife team Julie and Howard Duckworth have been bringing empty properties back into use. They have invested over £4.5 million into the regeneration of Goole, particularly on Aire Street, which was the heart of the historic Aire and Calder Company Town. Their first restoration in Goole, of the Station Hotel, created 38 jobs and 12 affordable, environmentally friendly apartments. They are now beginning to turn around the fortunes of the Goole Conservation Area, currently on Historic England's at risk Register.
Howard Duckworth said: “All the buildings were derelict and weeks away from being pulled down. We just want to put Goole on the map – the community has been amazing.”
Best Contribution to a Heritage Project by Young People: Joshua Aitken-Dunkeld, Isle of Wight, South East
Josh first joined the Friends of Frank James - a group dedicated to saving a derelict Grade II listed hospital - when he was just 16 years old. He quickly became a key member of the group, taking responsibility for digital championing of the site. He led the way in highlighting the plight of the building to the public and telling the sad story of Frank James by setting up the website, creating beautiful YouTube videos and running the project's social media presence. Without these vital communication channels the group would not have been able to gain support locally or reach out to grant giving bodies.
Joshua Aitken-Dunkeld said: “I am proud to be representing the Isle of Wight’s heritage. This award is one of the best things that’s happened to me, it feels a bit like a dream. I love this building to bits and we’re one step closer to getting it saved.”
Best Research Project: Port Sunlight Village Trust and Wirral Borough Council, The Wirral, North West
The Port Sunlight Village Trust is a registered charity which manages the Port Sunlight Museum, all of the green spaces, around 250 houses and eight principal buildings in the village. Their aim is to conserve and maintain the Port Sunlight conservation area, encouraging a better understanding of its value as a heritage site. The charity worked with Wirral Borough Council to implement the Local Listed Building Consent Order as a positive way of conserving and enhancing Port Sunlight. This saved diminishing resources within the local authority and provided greater clarity to homeowners. Through their hard work and collaborative approach they have actively addressed local conservation issues and are a positive case study for future local groups and councils to learn from.
Heather Alcock, Conservation Advisor, Port Sunlight Village Trust said: “We now have a fast track system which will ensure we are doing the right thing for our heritage. This is an overwhelming moment for us.”
Outstanding Contribution to Heritage: Carlo Diponio Construction Supervisor at Dudley Zoo, Tecton Buildings at Dudley Zoo, the Black Country, West Midlands
Sponsored by Aon Estates Practice
Carlo is the construction supervisor at Dudley Zoo who has made a huge contribution to the restoration of the Tecton Buildings at Dudley Zoological Gardens. The Tectons were designed by Russian born architect Berthold Lubetkin and Dudley Zoo boasts the world's largest single collection of Tecton buildings. All 12 of them are listed and in 2009 the buildings were granted 'World Monuments Fund' status, giving it the same status as Machu Picchu and the Taj Mahal. In 2014 Heritage Lottery Funding was granted to refurbish these amazing structures. Carlo is the Zoo's expert in the field of concrete and knows the best techniques for restoring these buildings which were instrumental in bringing modernist architecture to the UK.
Carlo Diponio, Construction Supervisor at Dudley Zoo said: “Wow! This award is totally unexpected. It’s an absolute pleasure to work on these buildings; hopefully it won’t stop here. You must give it a go [volunteering] – you will remember it for the rest of your life. The more people that look at concrete buildings the way I did, the better.”
People's Favourite: Clevedon Pier and Heritage Trust Ltd, Somerset, South West
The Trust was formed to bring the Grade I listed Clevedon Pier back to life, following its collapse and near demolition in the 1970s. Over the decades the Trust has raised funds to bring, according to John Betjeman, "the most beautiful pier in England" back into use. In May this year, a new visitor centre was opened marking the end of the restoration. The Trust knew the local community was central to their efforts and organised a community share offer. More than 1,100 shareholders signed up, raising over £250,000.
Simon Talbot-Ponsonby, Chairman Clevedon Pier and Heritage Trust said: “We’re so lucky at Clevedon with all the support of the community that saved the pier from demolition. We built a beautiful modern structure at this Grade I listed pier which will make it sustainable for the future.”