Ecclesiastical’s Heritage Heroes announced

06 March 2023

Two Heritage Heroes have been recognised for their exceptional service to the UK’s heritage sector.

Sponsored by specialist heritage insurer Ecclesiastical, the Heritage Heroes Awards, now in their 13th year, are the Heritage Alliance’s celebration of the outstanding contribution Britain’s heritage volunteers make to society.

Volunteers are vital for the protection of England’s heritage. From caring for rural heritage sites to engaging the next generation of visitors, volunteers’ skills, passion, and commitment are the backbone of the heritage sector.

The awards were presented by Faith Kitchen, Customer Segment Director at Ecclesiastical and each of the winners received an Ecclesiastical Heritage Hero 2022 winner presentation plaque.

The awards ceremony coincided with Heritage Day1, a key event in the heritage sector calendar, with speakers including the Heritage Minister, Lord Parkinson, René Olivieri, Chair of the National Trust, and Peter Aiers OBE, Master and Chief Executive of The Charterhouse.

The winners of the 2022 Ecclesiastical Heritage Hero Awards2 are:

  • Ecclesiastical’s Heritage Hero Award – David Kennedy
    This award celebrates David’s contribution to Coombe Conduit, an ancient waterworks, in Kingston upon Thames during the past 10 years. David has organised volunteers, engaged and educated visitors, created an online tour to ensure the site was still accessible during the pandemic, and led and inspired many school and student parties.
  • Ecclesiastical’s Heritage Hero Storyteller Award – Chinatown History Champions
    This award celebrates the Chinatown History Champions’ contribution in revealing the neighbourhood’s heritage, engaging visitors through storytelling, and contributing to anti-racism work in Chinatown, London through engaging walking tours.

Commendations were also awarded to recognise outstanding achievements among the other nominees for 2022. For the Heritage Hero Award, a commendation was awarded to the Volunteer Wreck Custodians who look after 64 protected wreck sites. For the Heritage Storyteller Award, a commendation went to A Thames Lark for engaging young people with research through an immersive event along the Thames.

Faith Kitchen, Customer Segment Director at Ecclesiastical, said: “As the leading insurer of Grade I listed buildings in the UK, we’re passionate about Britain’s heritage. We’re proud to sponsor the Heritage Heroes Awards, and this year celebrates two incredibly deserving winners for their outstanding contribution to the heritage sector. Congratulations to David and the Chinatown History Champions!”

Lizzie Glithero-West, CEO at the Heritage Alliance, said: “It has been truly inspiring this year to see so many examples from across the breadth of our sector of the formidable contribution of heritage volunteers to preservation, engagement and access. David represents so many longstanding volunteers who are leaving an impressive educational legacy. Chinatown History Champions showcases how volunteers working together are critical ambassadors of the role heritage has to play to catalyse diverse communities. I’m also delighted that the, often unsung, heroes who monitor and look after our precious wreck sites in this 50th anniversary year of the Protection of Wrecks Act have been recognised for their invaluable contribution here.”

David Kennedy said: “I am deeply honoured to receive this award. I’d like to say, that over the years, I’ve been supported by many other volunteers and I wish to thank them for this.”

Sau Hing Au, on behalf of the Chinatown History Champions, said: “As a team of volunteers, we’ve each made time to understand many of the multi-layered Chinatown stories, and we take great pleasure in telling these stories to others. Receiving an award for our contribution is special. We are delighted that our collective efforts to share Chinatown’s stories are being recognised and are grateful to everyone involved.”