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St Anne’s Soho vicar wins award for stunning church redesign

Duke of Gloucester presents award to Soho vicar

03 November, 2017 — By Tom Foot

Rev Buckley with the Duke of Gloucester

A SOHO rector has scooped a prestigious “President’s Award” that was presented to him by the Duke of Gloucester.

Reverend Simon Buckley, of St Anne’s Soho, received the National Churches Trust award at St Mellitus College in Kensington last Thursday.

It is presented to the best restored church buildings in the country – and St Anne’s won it for its new front entrance and foyer which was unveiled in December last year.

Rev Buckley said: “I am absolutely delighted that this relatively small scheme has had such a big impact, not just on the awards panel, but on the people who repeatedly stop me outside St Anne’s now to say they never noticed there was a church here before. Many of them also now come in.”

He added: “The design for St Anne’s was chosen by a cross- section of the community from six submissions from different groups of students at Central St Martin’s.”

Rev Buckley said the design “captured something of the personality of the community the church is here to serve – the neon is just so Soho”.

St Anne’s church was consecrated in 1686, destroyed in the Blitz of 1940, and rebuilt as a multi-purpose chapel and community hall in 1991.

The main entrance was built with heavy iron gates leading to a dark, featureless corridor but last year it was dramatically transformed with an eye-catching new façade.

The design, by Shereif Al Rifa’i and Lina Viluma, replaced the iron gates with sleek glass doors.

The judges said: “We were delighted by this small scheme which brings a sense of style and fun to the entrance of St Anne’s church in Soho.”

The Church Architecture Awards are run by the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association (EASA) and the National Churches Trust.

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