Church volunteers nominated for national award

Volunteers at St John Maddermarket Church, Michael Pollitt, right, and Mike Spivey.Picture: ANTONY K

Volunteers at St John Maddermarket Church, Michael Pollitt, right, and Mike Spivey.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Two Norwich volunteers have been nominated for a national award by a church conservation charity.

They have helped to welcome a record total of 5,300 visitors to the medieval church, St John Maddermarket in the heart of Norwich, since April last year.

Michael Pollitt, who is the EDP's former agricultural editor, and retired solicitor Mike Spivey, have been opening the church with other volunteers for the past couple of years.

'It was a real surprise to be nominated for the award by the Churches Conservation Trust,' said Mr Spivey, who is also an official guide to the city's Guildhall and the historic Dragon Hall in King Street.

Mr Pollitt, of Chamberlin Road, Norwich, who is also vice-chairman of the Round Tower Churches Society, has been a volunteer for the past three years at St John Maddermarket.

The CCT's Laura Emmins said that the joint nomination as regional volunteer of the year for the south east recognised their efforts over the previous year.

The winner of the Volunteer of the Year Award will be announced on Friday, January 26 in London.

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St John Maddermarket's team was given the highest possible rating by a 'mystery' tourist award inspector in December 2016. It praised the trust's volunteer team for a warm welcome and brief, informative talks about the history of the church and its former worshippers.

The church, which is grade I listed, has a remarkable 6m-high 18th century oak altar canopy. It was installed by the then rector, Father William Busby, who bought it from the Colman family in July 1917 for 42 guineas (£44.10).

The CCT maintains about 350 churches in the country. Potential volunteers at St John can find out more about helping on Saturday, January 13; Monday, January 15 or Wednesday, February 7 but booking essential. Contact volunteering officer Laura Emmins for details.

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