A small group of conservation professionals based in and around Ludlow are part of a team that have scooped a prestigious Europa Nostra award 2024 for the conservation and adaptive re-use of the 14th century fortified church at Alma Vii in Transylvania.

The project led by Colin, Joe and Dan Richards of CJR Heritage Services, has for the past 28 years taken local building professionals from South Shropshire and North Herefordshire to Transylvania and undertaken restoration work on the Saxon Villages World Heritage sites, training local craftsmen in the skills of building restoration.

This work, in association with the Anglo Romanian Mihai Eminescu Trust, has included King Charles amongst its patrons and included the restoration of the defensive walls and towers of Sighisoara, the restoration of fortified churches, farmhouses, bridges and the construction and operation of wood fired brick, tile and lime kilns At Alma Vii the team undertook stabilisation works to the towering citadel walls, underpinned gate towers and completed extensive repointing in lime mortars.

On a number of their projects, they were sponsored by Ludlow Civic Society, Ludlow Town Walls Trust and The Prince’s Trust.

Iliana Ivanova, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “Our cultural heritage is our collective treasure, a bridge connecting our past, present and future. It holds a special place in our hearts and daily lives, fostering a sense of belonging and identity.

"The European Heritage Awards/Europa Nostra Awards highlight the crucial role of exemplary projects and individuals dedicated to preserving and promoting our rich heritage."