On Wednesday 26 February, the Tower of London hosted the Heritage Alliance's Heritage Day where two Heritage Heroes were recognised for their exceptional service to the UK’s heritage sector. One of those recognised was Stephen De Silva, chair of the Cathedral's Guides, who was given the Ecclesiastical Heritage Hero Lifetime Award in recognition of 40 years of volunteering here at St Albans Cathedral.

Sponsored by specialist insurer Ecclesiastical, the UK’s leading insurer of Grade I listed buildings, the Heritage Heroes Award, celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, is the Heritage Alliance’s celebration of the outstanding contribution Britain’s heritage volunteers make to society.

The awards ceremony coincided with Heritage Day, the key event in the heritage sector calendar with speakers including Sir Tim Laurence, Chair of English Heritage, and the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism. Peter Ainsworth, Chair of the Heritage Alliance and Faith Kitchen, Heritage Director at Ecclesiastical, presented the awards. Each of the winners received a framed original Pugin-designed tile from the Palace of Westminster as a token of gratitude. Upon receiving his award, Stephen said “Meeting our visitors and working with the staff at St Albans Cathedral has enriched my life in countless ways. Being a Heritage Hero is the icing on the cake. Thank you so much for recognising the work of volunteers - we are often at the heart of so many great heritage sites.”   

Faith Kitchen, Heritage Director at Ecclesiastical said: “As the leading insurer of Grade I listed buildings in the UK, we’re passionate about Britain’s heritage. We’re proud to sponsor the Heritage Heroes Awards, and this year celebrates two incredibly deserving winners for their outstanding contribution to the heritage sector. Congratulations to our winners!”

Peter Ainsworth, Chair at Heritage Alliance added: “A true Heritage Hero is a person who generously gives time and knowledge to creating and preserving beautiful places and objects, often under the radar, for the benefit of everyone. They make a huge contribution to their community by making local places and stories more loved and accessible. Diane and Stephen are a true inspiration, which I hope will encourage others to follow their footsteps.”


Heritage Day: https://www.theheritagealliance.org.uk/heritage-day/