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Prestigious award for All Saints

All Saints Church at Necton, near East Dereham in Norfolk, was recently awarded the prestigious SPAB (Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) John Betjeman Memorial Award for 2012.

The annual award honours the memory of church enthusiast and SPAB member Sir John Betjeman and is made for outstanding repairs to the fabric of places of worship in England and Wales completed in the last 12 months.  The judges were highly impressed by the repairs to the cupola at All Saints.

Stephen Thorp, Rector of All Saints, said: “When we were first told that we needed to repair the cupola our hearts sank because we knew it was a very big project. With guidance and generous help, however, we were able to go ahead.

“As it progressed we could see, even as lay people, the high level of skill and craftsmanship involved. It was a joy to behold and we all appreciated the sheer quality of the work that was being done.  The project has really brought the community together.”

In May, a group of SPAB representatives visited churches shortlisted for this year’s award to assess the nominees. Panel spokesman Peter Burman says: “In every case we were impressed by the high level of professionalism which had gone into the repair project. We felt that all four short-listed projects exhibited the SPAB’s principle of ‘honest and visible repair’.

“The contractors at All Saints, Necton were that admirable firm of W. S. Lusher & Son Ltd, Sprowston, Norwich, and we noted that the survival of such firms is of the utmost importance for the future of our historic buildings. They set a shining example in the deployment of highly-motivated and skilful craftsmen.

"An overwhelmingly positive impression was given by the quality of the craftsmanship at Necton. It was heartening to learn that the firm’s best carpenter had worked on the job with his son, and that they had both been tremendously enthusiastic. A worthy winner.”