First service on Armistice Day for Bilborough’s historic ‘angel’ church

St Martin’s Church, Bilborough had its first service after completion of restoration work on its famous angel mural, with an Act of Remembrance, on Tuesday November 11th.

The medieval church was shortlisted for the English Heritage Angel Awards 2014, but was ‘pipped to the post’ for the Award for the Best Rescue or Repair of a Place of Worship. The ceremony took place at the Palace Theatre in London on Monday 3rd November, and was hosted by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Hilary Wheat, one of a group of volunteers who have been instrumental in helping to preserve the almost 700 year old building said:

“It was marvellous to be shortlisted down to the last four. We had a terrific night out in London, complete with red carpet at the Palace Theatre and reception at Kettners. It was a great experience for our young Heritage Trainees who accompanied us. We are extremely grateful to English Heritage, Andrew Lloyd Webber and the Daily Telegraph for their support for our project.   “We may not have won but we now have the most beautiful church thanks to all the hard work of the craftsmen and women and volunteers who have worked on the project and we are thankful for the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund who have made all this possible. We look forward to some exciting events and activities over the next 24 months.”

Rescue of the site began in 2010, and this year a grant of £744,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund allowed the church to start revealing its ‘hidden treasures’.

A new heating system has been installed as part of the renovations funded by HLF, and will use ground source heat from three deep level bore holes on land next to the church.

Adds Hilary: “The use of sustainable energy is very important to this project… as well as caring for and working with creation it will form part of our educational offer to schools and the community, so they can see how much energy the earth can generate.” St Martin’s is the first church in Southwell & Nottingham Diocese to use ground source.

The Angel Awards were founded in 2011 by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and supported by the Telegraph Newspaper, to celebrate the efforts of individuals and local groups all over the country who put hours of hard work, passion and perseverance into saving vulnerable, damaged and derelict historic landmarks from being lost forever.

The Angel mural is one of several previously lost wall paintings by the highly rated mid-20th century artist Evelyn Gibbs, that were rediscovered by electricians during building work.