All Saints Wilby (c)MarkBullimorePhotography

Friends' Vote winner announced


All Saints church, Wilby, Norfolk, has been awarded the 2022 National Churches Friends’ Vote. The church receives a £10,000 Friends of the National Churches Trust grant to help fund the completion of urgent repairs. 

The award was made by Hugh Dennis, comedian, actor and presenter at the 2022 National Church Awards at a ceremony held before a specially invited audience of church and heritage lovers on Monday 24 October at the historic Mercers’ Company Livery Hall in the City of London.

The National Church Awards, run by The National Churches Trust, celebrate churches and the people who use and look after them. 

About the church 

The Grade I listed church receives a special £10,000 grant to fund urgent roof repairs. 

Situated in a tiny hamlet in rural Norfolk, All Saints dates from the first half of the 14th century. The chancel roof is in an unstable state due to ‘batten sickness’ which is causing water to enter the building. To fix this issue the church is in the process of replacing the roof and ceiling of its architecturally significant chancel. 

We had previously supported the church in 2021 with a Cornerstone, a Wolfson Fabric Repair and a Gateway Grant. The extra funding from the Friends’ Vote will enable the church to become watertight and continue to serve local people. 

All Saints was threatened with closure in the 1970s but is still with us today. It has plans to develop support not just for the local community but also to link with a city- based church in a deprived area of Norwich to offer rural activities. A lesson in how important it is to keep churches open for the future. 

Catherine Townsend, Director of Church Support for the National Churches Trust said: 

"We invited churches to whom we had awarded a Cornerstone Grant to let us know if they needed any additional funding prior to starting work on their project and four were shortlisted for the vote." 

"We were delighted that this year more Friends than ever took part in the vote.  It is great news for All Saints, a remarkable and historic church and one that has stayed open despite plans to close it in the 1970s, that it really caught the affection of our Friends and won the vote.”