Huw Edwards: “Churches across the land have a vital role to play … ”




“Somebody should do something about that!” Have you ever heard this declaration blurted out loud, screamed on social media or even whispered quietly in the depths of your own heart? When it comes to the deterioration and demolition of lovely old church buildings I certainly have. I wrote about how upsetting it was to watch someone break into a local church here.

And so it was with great delight that I stumbled upon the work of The National Churches Trust who help to protect beautiful and historic churches throughout the UK. The challenges are utterly staggering, but these guys are having a serious go at doing something about it, and I take my hat off to them. Journalist and broadcaster, Huw Edwards is Vice President of the National Churches Trust he said: “As we have seen over the last few months, churches across the land have a vital role to play in moments of national importance; bringing people together, providing quiet spaces for reflection and prayer, and places for communities to gather and share.”

In addition to his interest in church buildings Huw Edwards has a passion for pipe organs. He narrated the BBC 4 documentary film Organ Stops. The film follows Martin Renshaw who travels the country on a mission to rescue pipe organs which are discarded when churches fall into disrepair and eventual closure. This fascinating documentary is available to watch on BBC i-player.

The National Churches Trust website is a good antidote to that sinking feeling I get when I think about the sheer number of churches falling into disrepair. I spent a very pleasant half hour with my coffee having a nosey around the favourite churches of celebrities such as Hugh Dennis, Ben Fogle, Sir Michael Palin and Brian Blessed here. It was no surprise to discover that Huw Edward’s favourite church is one of the most significant religious buildings in Wales.

There is an absolute ton of thoroughly interesting research available on the National Churches Trust website. For example, according to research carried out for the National Churches Trust by The Brierley Consultancy, there are around 40,300 church buildings in the UK open to the public and being used for worship. The number of church buildings is also substantially higher than other key public buildings in the UK. There are currently around 14,300 supermarkets operated by grocery retailers, 11,500 post office branches, 7,500 bank branches and 3,600 public libraries.

If you’re interested in more information about this important work please click here.

Val Fraser

Val Fraser is a trained journalist with over 12 years’ experience working on staff in various demanding media environments. She has authored/edited thousands of articles including news, travel and features. Val has authored/contributed to nine non-fiction books. A regular columnist, she stepped up to the role of Digital Editor in September 2022 and is responsible for the Sorted Magazine website.

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