Friends win Heritage Angel Award

The Friends of Kinneil charity has won a Scottish Heritage Angel Award.

The Bo’ness group scooped the “Sharing and Celebrating” category in the competition to honour heritage volunteers. The announcement was made at a ceremony Edinburgh last night (Tuesday 18 October).

Friends chair Maria Ford said she was “delighted” at the group’s success.

The awards were established by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.

Andrew Lloyd Webber 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.”

Organisers said: “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.”

Other 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.

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.

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 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.

The 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, who hosted the awards event.

The awards were 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.”