Nayler Awards for Excellence in Church Maintenance

The winner of the Nayler Award for Excellence in Church Maintenance 2021 is St Matthew’s church, Surbiton! We support the National Churches Trust’s maintenance and preventative care grant programmes. In 2019, we supported the NCT’s Good Guardianship Awards. These were renamed the Nayler awards for Excellence in Church Maintenance in 2020 in recognition of the commitment of Georgina Nayler, the previous Director of the Pilgrim Trust. Find out more about the latest winners below.

The maintenance team at St Matthew’s, Surbiton.

Winning £7,500, the judges praised St Matthew’s for its exemplary maintenance plan and their practical solutions for this grade II listed building. In particular, the judges loved their ‘Maintenance Mornings’, which encouraged the Church congregation to get involved and tempted them with bacon butties as well. The runners up, winning £2,500 a piece was All Saints in Bedfordshire and St Andrew’s church in Devon.

St Matthew’s church was built in 1874-5 and paid for by a single benefactor, who was a senior partner in Coutts Bank. It was designed by a local architect in the neo-Gothic style and has an elegant tower and spire which can be seen for miles around. A growing and thriving church, it brings together a wide range of ages, backgrounds and approaches to God.

Interior of St Matthew’s church in Surbiton.

The judging panel included our very own Director, Sue Bowers, and the awards were announced by our former Director, Georgina Nayler, after which the awards are named. You can watch the full virtual awards on Youtube here, which includes a special tour of St Giles Church in Wrexham – one of the ‘Seven Wonders of Wales’ – and comments from Sue about the awards.

The Pilgrim Trust has long been an advocate for the value of good maintenance practice. Annual maintenance plans, regular inspections and small preventative repairs stop many minor problems from escalating into large, expensive repair needs that can threaten the future of a building.

Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust said:

“Well done St Matthew’s church in Surbiton, the well deserved winners of The 2021 Nayler Awards for Excellence in Church Maintenance. The church is a great example of how having in place a good maintenance plan helps to prevent costly repair bills. Our thanks go to The Pilgrim Trust who support The Nayler Awards which celebrate the unsung heroes who keep church buildings well maintained and fit for the future.”

Sue Bowers, Director of the Pilgrim Trust said:

“Many congratulations to St Matthew’s church in Surbiton for winning this year’s Nayler Awards for Excellence in Church Maintenance, thanks to the team effort of all those involved in looking after the building”.

“The Pilgrim Trust is delighted to support The Nayler Awards which seek to raise awareness of the importance of good maintenance in safeguarding our local churches and avoiding costly repairs, and to recognize the commitment of the thousands of volunteers who care for them and keep them open for all. On behalf of the judging panel, I would like to thank all the churches who took part and to the National Churches Trust for organising the awards.”

Last year’s Nayler award was won by ChristChurch in Sowerby Bridge in West Yorkshire and we plan on supporting the awards for at least the next two years. You can learn more about the awards and how to apply next year on the National Churches Trust website.


All photos and graphics credit: National Churches Trust