Ecclesiastical’s lockdown Heritage Heroes announced

25 March 2021

Three 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 11th year, are the Heritage Alliance’s celebration of the outstanding contribution Britain’s heritage volunteers make to society.
Volunteers play a vital role in protecting the UK’s heritage. From caring for rural heritage sites and checking in on empty heritage buildings during lockdown to devising new ways of working remotely, volunteers’ skills, passion, and commitment have proven to be more crucial than ever before.
Peter Ainsworth, Chair of the Heritage Alliance, and Faith Kitchen, Heritage Director at Ecclesiastical, presented the awards. Each of the winners received an original hand-painted sign by Joby Carter, from Carters Steam Fair, showcasing the artistry and history of traditional fairground decorations.
The virtual awards ceremony coincided with Heritage Day, the key event in the heritage sector calendar with speakers including Sir Laurie Magnus, Chair of Historic England, and the Minister for Digital and Culture Caroline Dinenage MP.

    The winners of the 2020 Ecclesiastical Heritage Hero Awards are:

    Heritage in Lockdown Hero Award – Alexandra Palace’s litter picking volunteers

    This award celebrates the local people who rallied to help Alexandra Palace clear its historic parkland of litter during lockdown. The efforts of the volunteers were critical in helping to keep the parkland safe and clean for everyone to enjoy.

    Supporting the Sector in Lockdown Award – Alex Page

    This award celebrates Alex’s work as Chair of the Safety in the Historic Built Environment Group. Alex has shared best practice and supported a network of heritage organisations across the UK struggling with Covid-19 including providing guidance on site capacities, social distancing, PPE equipment and cleaning regimes to help protect staff, volunteers and visitors.

    Digital Heritage Hero Award – Astrid Gillespie and Paul Hamilton

    This award celebrates Astrid and Paul’s fundraising efforts in response to an illegal rave at All Saints church in East Horndon that resulted in significant damage. By speaking to news outlets and advertising a Just Giving page via Facebook, Alex and Paul raised sufficient funds to carry out repairs and address additional conservation works.
    Faith Kitchen 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 some incredibly deserving winners for their outstanding contribution to the heritage sector during such an incredibly challenging year. Congratulations to Alexandra Palace’s litter picking volunteers, Alex, Astrid and Paul
    Peter Ainsworth added: “It’s been a very difficult year and we’ve needed heroes more than ever. These people and organisations have risen to the challenge - many others too. Litter picking, dealing with an illegal rave, providing essential advice on PPE and cleansing - these are not glamorous activities; but they matter very much and we are proud to recognise them.”