English Heritage 'angels' announced by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Tomb of Raja Rammohun Roy restored A tomb was restored as part of work at the Arnos Vale Cemetery

Projects to save a 45-acre Victorian cemetery and a Nottinghamshire coal pit are among the winners of new Angel Awards run by English Heritage.

The project to save Bristol's Arnos Vale Cemetery and a group which has fought to save Pleasley Colliery in Mansfield were among six winners.

The awards aim to recognise people and groups who have saved a place that "was at risk of being lost forever".

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Melvyn Bragg were among the judges.

Winners in four categories were picked from a shortlist of 16 who were announced at a ceremony at the Palace Theatre in London.

More than 200 projects were entered into the competition and groups had to show how they had worked to preserve the structures eligible for the English Heritage At Risk Register.

The winners were presented with statuettes.

Mr Lloyd Webber said: "All 16 shortlisted groups were exceptional and the judges had a hard time deciding between them.

"But in the end the winners stood out for their passion, perseverance and imagination, for the scale of the challenges they had taken on and for the legacy they leave behind - a secure future for beautiful historic buildings, which without them could so easily have simply disappeared."

Specialist skills

St Stephen's Restoration and Preservation Trust, which helped raise £5.6m to save 19th Century building St Stephen's Rosslyn Hill, in Hampstead, London, was among the winners.

Pleasley pit in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire

Friends of Pleasley Pit worked hard to preserve the site

Judges chose the project, along with Arnos Vale Cemetery, as joint winners in the "best rescue of any other entry from the Heritage at Risk register".

Meanwhile, judges chose Westenhanger Castle and Mediaeval Barns as the "best craftsmanship employed on a heritage rescue".

They said the project had "employed the highest level of craftmanship", sheer hard work and imagination to save the 16th Century Smythe Barn in Hythe, Kent.

Left Bank Leeds, which has given a new lease of life to the former Church of St Margaret of Antioch, won the Angel Award for "best rescue of a place of worship".

More than 120 volunteers have been working together to restore the church and also make it a place for art and music for the community.

One of the 16 projects was chosen for a special Angel Award, which was picked by English Heritage members and subscribers of the Telegraph newspaper.

This went to the project to save Tyntesfield Orangery in north Somerset. The scheme, run by the National Trust, the City of Bath College and Nimbus Conservation, aimed to save the abandoned building while teaching people specialist craft skills for the heritage sector.

Simon Thurley, English Heritage chief executive, said all the winners "brilliantly showed" how local people with a passion could rescue important parts of England's history.

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