Benington Community Heritage Trust is celebrating being named as one of three finalists in the Best Rescue of a Historic Building or Place category for this year’s prestigious Historic England Angel Awards.

In 2003 All Saints, the 800-year-old parish church at the centre of the Lincolnshire village of Benington, was closed. Residents decided to form the Benington Community Heritage Trust in 2007, with the aim of re-opening All Saints as a community and events centre to be known as The Beonna at All Saints. Set to open in 2019, this Grade I-listed building will again be at the centre of its community, opening its doors to visitors.

Support from the diocese and further afield
Kevin Pinner, Chairman of Benington Community Heritage Trust, has said: “The Beonna Project has been a much bigger undertaking than any of us ever imagined when we formed our Trust in 2007. We are delighted that the hard work and dedication of the Trustees has been recognised in our nomination for a Historic Angel England Award but we are very aware that the rescue of All Saints would have remained a dream without invaluable support from many different sources.

The contribution from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation proved crucial in securing the necessary £2.3 million funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Architectural Heritage Fund, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Medlock Trust and Lincolnshire County Council. The Church Commissioners and the Diocese of Lincoln have also provided help and financial support throughout the last 11 years. Equally important to the success of the project has been the unstinting advice and guidance we have received from Historic England and the Churches Conservation Trust. I hope learning about our project, as a result of our nomination, will inspire other communities to work for the preservation of their heritage buildings and places.”

Andrew Lloyd Webber, who founded the Historic England Angel Awards in 2011, has said: “I am thrilled to see the wide range of heritage projects included in the shortlist for the 2018 Historic England Angel Awards. This year we can truly call the Angel Awards a national celebration with England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and, for the first time, Wales hosting Heritage Angel Awards.

Everyone involved in these projects deserves to be recognised and congratulated on the vital role they play in protecting unique heritage, buildings, landscapes and craft skills for future generations. I am excited that for the first time we will be crowning an overall UK winner at the final ceremony.”

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, has said: “The Angel Awards allow us to celebrate the people who work tirelessly to care for our irreplaceable heritage. So often they are in the background, but now we turn the spotlight on the volunteers and heritage professionals whose work ensures we can continue to enjoy England’s wonderful historic sites for generations to come.”

While the five category winners will be decided by a panel of expert judges, each project is now seeking the public’s support to win a further award. All 15 shortlisted projects – three per category– are in the running for the Historic England People’s Favourite award chosen solely by the public. Voting is now open and votes may be cast here (voting closes on 18th November 2018).

The winners will be announced and presented with their awards at a ceremony to be held at the Gillian Lynne Theatre in London on 27th November 2018.