Left to right Hugh Dennis (Actor Comedian and Presenter) Canon Ann Easter (Former Chaplain to HM Queen Elizabeth II), Sandra Lynes-Timbrell (Director of Visitor Engagement, St Pauls Cathedral), Rev Sue Deacon (St John the Baptist Church Scampton), Joe Bartrop (Project Co-ordinator Scampton Church and RAF War Graves Heritage Centre Project) Sarah Stewart, Trustee, National Churches Trust). Photo courtesy: National Churches Trust and Mike Swift photography
The first National Church Awards took place last month, and the CWGC’s friends at Scampton (St John the Baptist) Churchyard in Lincolnshire took home the prize for church tourism as part of an ongoing collaborative project to raise awareness of the war graves at the site.
Scampton (St John the Baptist) Church was given the title of overall winner and winner for England in the category of “Open for Visitors” Award. The award recognises the positive impact being open and welcoming has on churches and their visitors. In the write-up for the award, it was stated that the church had a “warm welcome and wonderful interpretation” as part of its ongoing work through their war graves heritage centre.
The church is open daily, and works closely with key partners on the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Trail to attract local and international visitors. Currently, the site has around 1,000 visitors per year but this number is expected to increase after the completion of the major restoration project at the site and creation of the Scampton Community and War Graves Heritage Centre. Judges were noted to have been excited about the passionate way that Scampton Church maintains Lincolnshire’s aviation heritage and works with other key stakeholders, such as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, to attract visitors to the site and share the stories of those remembered there. There are 107 war graves from both the two World Wars and service graves at the site, and the CWGC has worked closely with the church in recent years as part of its “Our War Graves, Your History” Project. The church received a prize of £1,000 for its win.
Speaking of the day, key guest actor and comedian Hugh Dennis said:
“Packed with history and heritage, centres for vital community support and places for worship and reflection, churches are a beating heart of the nation. A huge congratulation to all of the winners of this year’s awards, all of whom love and care for their churches. The National Church Awards will inspire others with new ideas to make their churches welcoming, long lasting and thriving, at the service of all.“
Well done to all the team at Scampton (St John the Baptist) Church; the CWGC looks forward to the future projects we are working on together!