Medieval Norfolk church wins English heritage awards

A rescued Norfolk church is among the winners of this year's English Heritage Angel Awards. St Mary's, West Somerton, has a thatched roof and medieval round tower, as well as wall paintings from the 14th century. Pauline Burkitt and Simon Pleasley oversaw a major restoration project to replace the thatched roof, restore the plastering and install new drains to keep the magnificent wall paintings dry.

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west somerton church norfolkSomerton is a civil parish in the English county of Norfolk. It comprises the twin villages of East Somerton and West Somerton and is situated some 14 km north of the town of Great Yarmouth, 35 km north-east of the city of Norwich, and 2 km from the sea. The civil parish has an area of 8.25 km2 and in the 2001 census had a population of 257 in 93 households. For the purposes of local government, the parish falls within the district of Great Yarmouth. The church of West Somerton St Mary is one of 124 existing round-tower churches in Norfolk.

Mr Pleasley said: "Because we are church wardens we are responsible for the fabric of the church. People don't realise that. "They think 'oh it's the church that does it'. It isn't. The church hasn't got the money. It has to be individuals who are prepared to stick their necks out and raise enough money to stop these places from falling down."

The awards were founded by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber last year to celebrate the efforts of local people in rescuing their at-risk heritage. The winners of this year's awards were chosen from 16 finalists and announced at a ceremony this morning at the Palace Theatre in London.

St Marys west somerton church norfolk

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