Banffshire Coast News

Aberdeenshire’s ‘heritage angels’ shortlisted as nationwide search enters final stage

Shortlist for Scottish Heritage Angel Awards 2017 announced

The search to find Scotland’s ‘heritage angels’ is gearing up, with the final shortlist for the Scottish Heritage Angel Awards 2017 revealed today (Wed 27 Sep).

Among the 12 finalists are the North East Scotland Preservation Trust (NESPT), who have been shortlisted for the Best Rescue of a Historic Building Award for their project to restore the B listed buildings at Back Green, Portsoy and convert them in to the Sail Loft Bunkhouse, 25-bed guesthouse for visitors to the area.

The NESPT have been working to preserve the built heritage of Aberdeenshire since 1985, with a long track record of building restoration projects.

The category B-listed buildings rescued by the NESPT comprised a former sail making factory with a finely detailed Georgian house and two associated cottages, in derelict condition. The renovation project took the NESPT eleven years from acquisition to opening as a bunkhouse, demonstrating the perseverance, commitment and dedication of the volunteer directors who give their time and expertise freely.

Paul Higson, Project Manager at NESPT, said: “We’re delighted to have been shortlisted for a Scottish Heritage Angel Award. The Sail Loft Project was the biggest and most challenging project ever undertaken by the NESPT in its 32 year history, and it is extremely gratifying to be nominated for this award.

“The success of the project was largely dependent on the close partnership between the NESPT and Portsoy Community Enterprise, who operate the bunkhouse. Feedback from users of the bunkhouse has been very positive and the Sail Loft has been named as one of the 20 coolest new hostels in the world by American Express Essentials Magazine.”

Launched in 2014 with funding from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation (ALWF), and run by the Scottish Civic Trust in partnership with Historic Environment Scotland, Archaeology Scotland and the Scottish Government, the Scottish Heritage Angel Awards celebrates both groups and individuals who have gone above and beyond in their efforts to promote, protect and, in many cases, rescue Scotland’s heritage.

The North East Scotland Preservation Trust will join the other finalists at the Scottish Heritage Angels Awards ceremony on Monday 16th October at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh, where the overall winner in each of the four categories will be announced.

John Pelan, Director of the Scottish Civic Trust, said:” We received many wonderful nominations for individuals and groups right across the country. The scale of their achievements in recording and celebrating local heritage and rescuing historic buildings and sites is truly inspiring.

“Many of the people behind these projects are volunteers and give up their time and energy freely, overcoming many challenges, while discovering and sharing new skills.   It is particularly rewarding to learn about the achievements of young people and apprentices, who are sure to be the guardians of our historic environment in the future.

“Our judges now have the task of finding our overall winners. I’m looking forward to celebrating the success and hard work of all our finalists on 16th October.”

The panel of judges will include: author and broadcaster Vanessa Collingridge; architect and Vice-Chair of Scottish Civic Trust Ed Taylor; CEO of Volunteer Scotland George Thomas; and Taylor Dickinson, member of Scotland’s Urban Past Youth Forum.

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of Historic Environment Scotland, said: “All over Scotland, groups, individuals, volunteers and professionals involved in heritage projects are at the heart of local communities, working tirelessly to protect, preserve and promote our historic environment.

“It’s important we recognise their vital contributions, and The Scottish Heritage Angel Awards are an opportunity to shine a spotlight on their accomplishments and celebrate the difference they make.

“The final shortlist demonstrates the diversity and value of heritage projects throughout the country, and I’d like to congratulate all the finalists on their achievements.”

The Scottish Heritage Angel Awards run parallel to Heritage Angel Awards in England and Northern Ireland. This year, an overall winner from the three award schemes will be selected and crowned at the London ceremony on Monday 20th November.

Andrew Lloyd Webber, whose charitable foundation helped found the Heritage Angel Awards, said: “I’m delighted to champion the people who protect the precious buildings and places around us. Everyone who has been shortlisted for a Scottish Heritage Angel Award has made a significant difference to our landscape and built environment. Congratulations to all of them! This year I am especially pleased that we are crowning an overall UK winner for the first time, showcasing the crucial work that is being done across the country by local heritage heroes.”

Full details of the shortlist for the Scottish Heritage Angel Awards 2017 can be viewed at www.scottishheritageangelawards.org.uk.

Keep up to date with the latest from the Scottish Heritage Angel Awards on Twitter at @ScotAngelAwards.

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