Honour for town champion

A LEADING champion of Ipswich's heritage has been honoured for his determination to see the town's history celebrated.

A LEADING champion of Ipswich's heritage has been honoured for his determination to see the town's history celebrated.

Well-known historian Dr John Blatchly has been given a special award for his ceaseless efforts to see historic landmarks in the town restored to their former glory and returned to use.

Dr Blatchly was recognised at the regional finals of the Nationwide Community and Heritage Awards and will now go forward to the national finals at the Tower of London on November 11.

As well as his award, given in the heritage category, he received vouchers worth £250 and £500 to put toward his chosen charity - the latter being perfect timing for the fund he is championing to lower the historic bells at St Lawrence's Church in Dial Lane.

He said: “It is quite an honour.

“I came to Suffolk 36 years ago and immediately saw it was a county absolutely full of opportunities to make discoveries and in the end to start looking after things.”

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The award was given to Dr Blatchly, chair of Ipswich Historic Churches Trust, for his efforts in ensuring the renovation of four medieval churches in Ipswich town centre - St Stephen's Church which is now the town's tourist information centre, St Lawrence's Church, now the St Lawrence Community Centre, St Nicholas' Church, which has been converted to a conference centre and café by the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, and St Peter's Church which is a now a music venue.

The Ipswich Historic Churches Trust is striving to raise £50,000 to fund the lowering of the St Lawrence Church bells, which are regarded as the oldest set of five bells in Christendom.

Currently they cannot be used because the tower they are housed in is unsafe so it is hoped they can be lowered to a sturdier section of the tower.

Donations can be sent to Dr John Blatchly, 11 Burlington Road, Ipswich, IP1 2HS, or James Hall, Birketts LLP, 24-26 Museum Street, Ipswich, IP1 1HZ. Cheques should be made out to Ipswich History Churches Trust, registered charity number 278924R.

Do you know someone who has been awarded a special honour? Write to The Evening Star, Press House, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk

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