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Contribution of volunteers recognised at Scottish Heritage Angel Awards

Posted: 21st October 2016

Contribution of volunteers recognised at Scottish Heritage Angel Awards as second annual awards sees brick collector, television channel run by young people, and famous memorial restoration project scoop prizes

A project to collect and record bricks, the restoration of a WWI memorial in Orkney, and a television channel run by young people to highlight an archaeological dig, were amongst the winners revealed at the second annual Scottish Heritage Angels Awards, held in Edinburgh on Tuesday 18 October.

Funded by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, the Angel Awards culminated in winners being named across five categories at a ceremony hosted by author and broadcaster, Vanessa Collingridge. The evening and awards programme was a celebration of the efforts of remarkable volunteers, or ‘Angels’ who give up their time to help better understand, appreciate, protect and celebrate Scotland’s heritage and history.

Andrew Lloyd Webber, whose charity, the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, established the awards, said: “The Scottish Heritage Angel Awards highlight what can be achieved when local people get involved in rescuing and restoring heritage throughout Scotland – from Dumfries to Orkney to Bo’ness. Huge congratulations to the winners, and indeed to all who were shortlisted, not only for the work they do but for being outstanding ambassadors for heritage.  I urge everyone to use the light we shine on these projects and their unsung heroes to unlock further funding and to inspire others to get involved.”

Among the award recipients were Mark Cranston from Jedburgh, who was named as winner of the Investigating and Recording category. Four years ago, Mr Cranston embarked on a remarkable project to research and record as much information on the Scottish industrial brick industry as possible – significantly adding to the current level of information available on the subject. Over those years Mark has travelled the country, collecting more than 2000 bricks in the process, each one of which tells its own story of an industry which was once thriving, and a fundamental part of Scottish industry as a whole.

The Caring and Protecting category was won by Neil Kermode and the Orkney Heritage Society, for their work to restore the HMS Hampshire, or ‘Kitchener’ memorial on Orkney. The memorial is dedicated to more than 737 men who lost their lives on 5 June 1916 when the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Hampshire struck a German mine just 1.5 miles off the shore from Orkney. Amongst the casualties were Secretary of State for War, Lord Kitchener, who is perhaps most famous now as the face of the ‘Your Country Needs You’ recruitment posters.

The group worked tirelessly to restore the memorial to its original condition in time for the centenary commemorations, as well as to better remember all those who lost their lives – not just Lord Kitchener – with the installation of a wall with the names of all the casualties of the tragedy. The research carried out by the group increased the previous total figure for the number of victims considerably.

The Friends of Kinneil scooped the award for best project in the Sharing and Celebrating category, in recognition of the outstanding work they do in championing the heritage of Kinneil House, museum, estate and nature reserve in Bo’ness. 2016 is the charity’s 10th anniversary, as well as the 250th anniversary of James Watt’s invention of the condensing steam engine. Much of the formative work to create that invention was carried out at the house and the group have led on the Scottish commemorations as well as delivering a number of local events, including the Big Roman Week.

In a very competitive section, the Young Heritage Angel Award was won by the ‘Dig TV’ young volunteer group, who designed and operated television content, focusing on a major archaeological excavation in the Black Loch of Myrton, near Whithorn. The young volunteers created engaging content, carrying out all the filming, directing, interviewing and editing to enable nightly bulletins to be broadcast, which presented archaeological findings almost as they happened, engaging with an entirely new audience in the process.

The Lifetime Contribution to the Historic Environment award was presented to Brian Watters for his work relating to the Carron Iron Works in Falkirk, by Historic Environment Scotland Chief Executive Alex Paterson. The award was recognition for Brian’s work which he has been researching for more than 30 years. During those years he has devoted much of his spare time to undertaking hours of research; delivering countless talks and presentations with local schools, community groups, and historical societies; published two books on the subject; and done much to advance the local, national, and worldwide knowledge on the iron works and its related industrial history.

Commenting on the Scottish Heritage Angel Awards, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said: “The awards provide a platform to celebrate those selfless individuals around the country who devote their time and energy to a cause bigger than themselves – to the benefit of their communities and further afield. Often with little or no recognition or thanks.

“It is equally important that we recognise the contribution of every person who has given up their time for no pay, in order to help, in some small way, all of us to better understand, protect, and value our heritage. I hope that their dedication inspires many others to get involved as well.”

The winners of this year’s Angel Awards were decided by a judging panel consisting of Professor John Hume (OBE), conservation architect Andrew Wright (OBE), Georgia Vullinghs, of the Scotland’s Urban Past Youth Forum, Colin McLean, Chair of the Scottish Civic Trust, and Vanessa Collingridge.

The awards are delivered in partnership between the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, the Scottish Civic Trust, Historic Environment Scotland, Archaeology Scotland and the Scottish Government. The Scottish Civic Trust is the main delivery partner.

John Pelan, Director of the Scottish Civic Trust, added: “The Angel Awards are proof of the amazing work done by thousands of heritage volunteers across Scotland.  Their achievements are of great benefit, in economic, social and cultural terms, to Scotland’s historic environment. The awards are an opportunity to highlight their efforts and acknowledge their commitment, passion and enthusiasm. We are very grateful to the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation for their support for these unique awards.”

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of Historic Environment Scotland said: “Last night’s awards are a great way of recognising the contribution of these fantastic volunteers to Scotland’s heritage sector, but it represents only a small cross-section of the work that is taking place in communities across the country to celebrate, share and enhance that sector on a daily basis. As much as tonight is about taking a moment to celebrate and applaud all of the nominees – not just the winners – for their outstanding efforts, I hope that the wider impact of the awards will be to highlight the many benefits of voluntary work, and inspire others to get involved.”

Recognising the positive impact that volunteers have on Scotland’s heritage, the awards align with the key underlying principles of Our Place in Time, the first historic environment strategy for Scotland, which places a strong focus on supporting and enabling participation across the historic environment.

To view the full details of the official shortlist for this year’s Scottish Heritage Angel Awards please visit www.scottishheritageangelawards.org.uk

Scottish Heritage Angel Awards Winners 2016

  • Category A, Investigating and Recording: Mark Cranston
  • Category B, Caring and Protecting: Orkney Heritage Society Kitchener Memorial Working Group
  • Category C, Sharing and Celebrating: The Friends of Kinneil
  • Category D, Young Heritage Angel Award: Dig TV
  • Category E, Lifetime Contribution to the Historic Environment: Brian Watters

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