Ecclesiastical’s Heritage Heroes announced

26 February 2020

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

Sponsored by specialist insurer Ecclesiastical, the UK’s leading insurer of Grade I listed buildings, the Heritage Heroes Award, celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, is the Heritage Alliance’s celebration of the outstanding contribution Britain’s heritage volunteers make to society.
Peter Ainsworth, Chair of the Heritage Alliance and Faith Kitchen, Heritage Director at Ecclesiastical, presented the awards. Each of the winners received a framed original Pugin-designed tile from the Palace of Westminster as a token of gratitude.
The awards ceremony coincided with Heritage Day, the key event in the heritage sector calendar with speakers including Sir Tim Laurence, Chair of English Heritage, and the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism.
The winners of the 2019 Ecclesiastical Heritage Hero Awards are:

    Ecclesiastical’s Heritage Hero Award – Diane White

    This award recognises Diane’s amazing contribution in transforming an area of wasteland into a sensory garden in the heritage centre of Buxton. From designing the garden and leading clearance parties, to fundraising for the project, Diane’s volunteering and fundraising efforts have made a real impact in her local community. This award is a small token of their gratitude for all her hard work. 
    “I am very proud of what our group has achieved with the creation of a sensory garden. A year ago, this was a neglected and litter strewn site in the historic centre of Buxton. Now it is a beautiful and relaxing place where locals and visitors can sit and enjoy themselves; the view from the garden is quite striking. This brings benefits, both physical and mental, and I am very pleased to have made a little difference to the community in this way.”

    Diane White, winner of Ecclesiastical’s Heritage Hero Award 2019

    Ecclesiastical’s Heritage Hero Lifetime Award – Stephen de Silva

    This award celebrates Stephen’s dedicated and transformative volunteering efforts for St. Albans Cathedral during the past 40 years. From coordinating the launch of a new exhibition in order to bring more visitors to the cathedral, to fundraising to futureproof the cathedral, this award celebrates the many hours Stephen has volunteered.
    "Meeting our visitors and working with the staff at St Albans Cathedral has enriched my life in countless ways. Being a Heritage Hero is the icing on the cake. Thank you so much for recognising the work of volunteers - we are often at the heart of so many great heritage sites."

    Stephen de Silva, winner of Ecclesiastical’s Heritage Hero Lifetime Award 2019

    Faith Kitchen, Heritage 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 Diane and Stephen!”
    Peter Ainsworth, Chair at Heritage Alliance added: “A true Heritage Hero is a person who generously gives time and knowledge to creating and preserving beautiful places and objects, often under the radar, for the benefit of everyone. They make a huge contribution to their community by making local places and stories more loved and accessible. Diane and Stephen are a true inspiration, which I hope will encourage others to follow their footsteps.”