Marsh Award for Achieving Impact Through Innovation

This award is to recognise a volunteer or community member who has made a difference to a particular church or churches, through a fresh approach to problem solving or developing opportunities.

Nominations for the Award are submitted to the Churches Conservation Trust via their website and are judged in partnership with representatives of the MCT.

Judith Hall – St Mary Magdalene, Battlefield, Shropshire 2023

Judith has long family links to the Battlefield church, through her father as one of the church’s former long-standing volunteers, who would open and close the church on a daily basis and meet and greet many visitors. Sadly, with her father’s passing, the church went through a period of key access only, which meant a decline in visitor numbers and donations. Following this, ​Judith took up the responsibilities of her father by opening and closing the church on a daily basis and was instrumental in gathering support for a re-wilding project in the churchyard. The project identified all of the current wild flowers that existed within the area, along with their locations. With support from the local Parochial Church Council, the project enabled a cutting regime of the churchyard allowing both flower and grasses to flourish and reducing the ongoing maintenance costs for the council. ​Without Judith’s daily commitment to the church, the building would still be through key access only, with reduced visitor numbers and donations in turn.

Previous Winners

Volunteer Team – All Saints, Cambridge

Heritage volunteers from The Cambridge Arts Society joined forces with the CCT in a bid to attract more visitors to All Saints, one of the finest examples of Victorian Gothic Revival in the country. The volunteers have organised a range of events and activities to help put the church back on the map, including a series of successful music recitals which have helped to establish the church as a music venue in Cambridge, raising over £2,000 so far. They have organised guided tours of the church and walking tours of Cambridge are also being developed to link the church to other landmarks in the city, helping to reconnect the church to the wider city landscape. The efforts of these volunteers have resulted in an open and welcoming church, which has seen a significant increase in visitors this year, as well as an increase in wall safe donations, in a relatively short period of time.

William King and Alex Clark

William King 

William is from St Mary’s in Shrewsbury. He joined the volunteering team as a Visitor Welcome Steward three years ago and was enthusiastic and keen to provide an array of historic detail for those who visit the church. William actively supports the wider tourism offer in Shrewsbury, including the CCT’s ambition to become more involved in a wider heritage network across the town by directing visitors to the various churches. He is popular with volunteers and visitors alike and demonstrates an impressive knowledge of local history. 

Alex Clark 

Alex is from the 17Nineteen project at Holy Trinity in Sutherland. He is part of the ‘Cabinet of Curiosity’ team, taking part in fortnightly meetings to develop ideas for the interpretation of the church’s silver collection. He has collaborated with the digital team to put on a series of online events which explore the heritage of Sunderland and the church, allowing them to engage with a wide audience, even though it is not possible for them to do so in person.