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£2.3 million 'Beonna' project near Boston up for a Historic England Angel Award

The former All Saints Church in Benington, which is being converted for community use to the tune of £2.3million, has been shortlisted for a Historic England 'Angel Award'.

Benington Community Heritage Trust is celebrating being named one of three finalists in the Best Rescue of a Historic Building or Place category of 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. The village had already lost its school, doctor's surgery, post office and shop. The Village Hall, a wooden building opened in 1923, needed modernisation for which there was no funding available.

Seeing All Saints boarded up prompted residents to form 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.  It took 10 years of hard work before the conservation and adaptation of All Saints began but in November 2018 The Beonna at All Saints will open. This beautiful Grade I listed building will once again take its rightful place at the centre of its community and visitors will be able to enjoy this beautiful building , as part of our national heritage.

Kevin Pinner, Chairman of Benington Community Heritage Trust 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, 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 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. Cast your vote at www.HistoricEngland.org.uk/AngelAwards
Voting closes Sunday, November 18, 2018.

Chaired by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the 2018 judging panel comprises historian Bettany Hughes, TV's Restoration Man George Clarke, the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Baroness Lola Young and Historic England's Chief Executive Duncan Wilson.

The winners will be announced and presented with their awards at a glittering ceremony at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, London on Tuesday, November 27, 2018.