London volunteers receive Ecclesiastical’s Heritage in Lockdown Hero Award for litter picking efforts at Alexandra Palace


Alexandra Palace’s litter picking volunteers have been recognised for their exceptional service to the UK’s heritage sector.

The Heritage in Lockdown Hero Award, one of three Ecclesiastical Heritage Hero Awards*, celebrates the local people who rallied to help Alexandra Palace clear its historic parkland of litter during lockdown. The efforts of the volunteers were critical in helping to keep the parkland safe and clean for everyone to enjoy.

Sponsored by specialist heritage insurer Ecclesiastical, the Heritage Heroes Awards, now in their 11th year, are the Heritage Alliance’s celebration of the outstanding contribution Britain’s heritage volunteers make to society.

Volunteers play a vital role in protecting the UK’s heritage. From caring for rural heritage sites and checking in on empty heritage buildings during lockdown to devising new ways of working remotely, volunteers’ skills, passion, and commitment have proven to be more crucial than ever before.

Peter Ainsworth, Chair of the Heritage Alliance, and Faith Kitchen, Heritage Director at Ecclesiastical, presented the award. Each of the winners received an original hand-painted sign by Joby Carter, from Carters Steam Fair, showcasing the artistry and history of traditional fairground decorations.

The virtual awards ceremony coincided with Heritage Day**, the key event in the heritage sector calendar with speakers including Sir Laurie Magnus, Chair of Historic England, and the Minister for Digital and Culture Caroline Dinenage MP.

Faith Kitchen said: “As the leading insurer of Grade I listed buildings in the UK, we’re passionate about Britain’s heritage. We’re proud to sponsor the Heritage Heroes Awards, and this year celebrates some incredibly deserving winners for their outstanding contribution to the heritage sector during such an incredibly challenging year. Congratulations to Alexandra Palace’s litter picking volunteers who kept its historic parkland safe and clean for everyone to enjoy.”

Peter Ainsworth added: “It’s been a very difficult year and we’ve needed heroes more than ever. These people and organisations have risen to the challenge – many others too. Litter picking, dealing with an illegal rave, providing essential advice on PPE and cleansing – these are not glamorous activities; but they matter very much and we are proud to recognise them.”

Louise Stewart, Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust CEO, said: “On behalf of everyone at the charity a massive congratulations to all the volunteers for winning this award. We’re delighted that the Park continues to be so popular and has given so many people somewhere to enjoy and escape to, especially during lockdown. But the litter left behind had a massively negative impact on the environment and the visitor experience at this amazing heritage site. At a time when our income has been significantly affected by the pandemic we just simply didn’t have the resources to cope with it. So it’s hard to put into words quite how grateful we are to all those who took it upon themselves to help tidy up. Well done, and thank you, to all the volunteers, who continue to work in all weathers. And thank you to the Heritage Alliance for recognising their amazing efforts.”

Gordon Hutchinson, Chair of the Friends of Alexandra Park, said: “I am so pleased that the tremendous efforts of the volunteers who kept Alexandra Park looking good have been recognised in this way. Their readiness to keep at it, week after week, showed just how much they cared about this valuable green space, with all its natural and historic attractions.”