Rachel, who braved Atlantic storms to repair a building on Devon’s remote Lundy Island is up for a national award judged by Andrew Lloyd Webber and George Clarke.
Rachel Thompson is celebrating being named one of three finalists in the ‘Best Craftsperson or Apprentice on a Heritage Rescue or Repair Project’ category of this year’s prestigious Historic England Angel Awards for the repair of Fog Battery Station on Lundy Island.
Chaired by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the 2017 judging panel comprises historian Bettany Hughes, TV’s Restoration Man George Clarke, the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Baroness Lola Young and Historic England’s Chief Executive Duncan Wilson.
A volunteer for 10 years on Lundy Island, Rachel Thompson has played a crucial role in repairing its Fog Battery Station and ensuring the story of the Grade II listed complex is preserved for future generations.
As an apprentice to National Trust mason Charlie Smith, Rachel braved extreme weather to conserve the central stack of the cottages, taking on repair of the chimneys alone in a project that significantly developed her conservation skills.
She hopes others will enjoy exploring the complex and learning about the gunners who once warned ships from the rocks, as she did.
A unique heritage site that had been neglected for more than a century, the Fog Battery Station has been made safe and the planned conservation of its cannons will remove the complex from the Heritage at Risk register.
Andrew Lloyd Webber said: ‘I’m delighted to champion the people who protect the precious buildings and places around us. Everyone who has been shortlisted for an Historic England 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.”
Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England said: “I am always impressed by the tireless commitment shown by our Angel Award nominees working together to care for our shared heritage.
“The variety of this year’s shortlists proves there are so many different ways to engage with our rich legacy of historic buildings and places and as ever, the judging panel will have their work cut out to choose the winners.
“It is essential that we champion the volunteers and heritage professionals whose work ensures we can continue to enjoy England’s wonderful historic sites for generations to come.”
While the four category winners will be decided by a panel of expert judges, each project is now seeking the public’s support to win a further award.
All 12 shortlisted projects, three per category, are in the running for the Historic England Followers’ and Telegraph Readers’ Favourite award chosen solely by the public.