Members of Melton’s St Mary’s Church are celebrating after judges last night (Thursday) gave a coveted national award to its impressive £1.9million renovation scheme.
The Grade 1 listed building, which was closed for 11 months last year to undergo its biggest overhaul in 200 years, won the President’s Award at the 2018 Church Architecture Awards in London.
The prestigious honour is given for new church buildings and designs in re-ordering, alteration and extension by the organisers, the National Churches Trust and the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association (EASA).
The Duke of Gloucester, who is vice-president of the churches trust, presented the award to members of St Mary’s, together with a £500 cheque at St Mellitus College. The work was designed by Architects Buttress.
Judges were impressed with structural changes at the Medieval church, which saw the floor lowered to make it into a single level to make it more accessible and user-friendly, lighting improvements and underfloor heating.
A new area for serving food and drink was also installed to support community events, such as the British Pie Awards and the Christmas Tree Festival.
Highly Commended in the category were Potter Church and Holmes Architects, for Ealing Green church in north London, and GLM Architects, for St Comghan’s Chapel, in Kilchoan, Scotland.
The presentation night also saw the King of Prussia Gold Medal, for innovative, high quality church conservation or repair work projects, given to The conservation and restoration project on the interior of Grade I Listed St Mary Magdalene Church, in Paddington, London, by Caroe Architecture.
And the award for Young Church Architect of the Year went to Pippa Jacob for work on the re-ordering and introduction of new facilities at St Edmund King and Martyr Church, at Southwold in Suffolk.
Luke March, chairman of the National Churches Trust said: “I’m delighted that the 2018 Church Architecture Award have this year recognised two major repair and restoration projects.
“Church architecture is such an important part of the UK’s built environment.
“The work of architects and surveyors is so important in keeping church buildings in good repair, in modernising churches and chapels so that they can serve the needs of our age and in designing new churches that speak of our age.
“Each year, many millions of pounds are spent on church architecture.
“This boosts local economies and provides employment for architects and surveyors and also for a wide range of craftsmen and women, specialist builders and contractors.”