The annual English Heritage Angel Awards, founded by Andrew Lloyd Webber and supported by The Telegraph, celebrate the efforts of local people who have saved historic buildings and places. Austin Newport Group congratulate Brian Cooke and his team, and are proud to have been part of the All Saints repair work, providing quantity surveying and project management.
Winner of Best Rescue or Repair of a Historic Place of Worship - Brian Cooke, All Saints, Leamington Hastings
Below is a summary of what happened:
- On the morning of Monday 30 November 2009, flames were seen in the church and the alarm raised. The fire brigade arrived quickly and extinguished the blaze. The fire - subsequently confirmed as arson - caused destruction of the south aisle, its roof and its contents (including the organ) as well as extensive smoke and water damage which made the whole building unusable. In August 2013, with the last part of the restoration (installation of a restored historic pipe organ) just completed, lead was stolen on two separate occasions from the roof immediately above the organ causing extensive damage resulting in the organ being rendered unusable. The planned dedication service had to be cancelled.
- With the church out of action, what was required was a passion to do the very best for the building and parish, a clear vision, focus and a plan to bring it about. Churchwarden Brian Cooke led this effort and, with the architect Mark Evans and others, completed these plans and obtained the necessary approvals.
- After the vandalism in 2013, further despondency in the parish was very evident, with a real risk of losing the magnificent organ. However, Brian, having recently completed his term as churchwarden, stepped in again and displayed leadership in adversity by masterminding the necessary repairs, including the organ to repair water damage. The £20,000 needed from the parish was raised through local appeals, individual donations and three grant applications.
- The project was completed, with the exception of the organ, on 3 December 2010. The restored 1826 organ was completed for the second time in April 2014. The church is now in full use as a place of worship and other activities including a series of classical concerts.