Dedicated church historian awarded MBE

An Arundel man has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours List.

The chairman said he was 'surprised and honoured' to have received the recognition
The chairman said he was 'surprised and honoured' to have received the recognition

Trevor Cooper, 67, from Burpham near Arundel has been awarded a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to ecclesiastical heritage in Arundel.

As chairman of the council at the Ecclesiological Society, based in London, he plays a pivotal role in informing and educating people on the history of churches and chapels.

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He also acts as chair of the The Historic Religious Buildings Alliance, an independently-funded group within the The Heritage Alliance, who bring together those working for a secure future for historic religious buildings.

The chairman said he was ‘surprised and honoured’ to have received the recognition, but emphasised the ‘work of his colleagues’.

He said: “The work of my colleagues has been fundamental to our success in encouraging enjoyment of these fascinating buildings and helping to ensure their long term future.

“In England alone there are more than 14,000 listed churches and chapels, many of them open to the public on a daily basis. These are peaceful places, full of history, and often beautiful in their own right.

“Many people do not appreciate that they are paid for and looked after almost entirely by volunteers. They are the real heroes. Up and down the country these volunteers can be found opening up their churches on a daily basis for people to visit, or raising funds for their upkeep, with relatively little help from public money. I am in awe of what they achieve.”

The 67-year-old has been chairman of the council since 2000 and as a member he visits churches, studies them, researches their history and enjoys sharing enthusiasm for the historic buildings.

He is now retired from business and in his spare time enjoys exploring ancient churches with friends, and trying to capture them in photographs.

He has also published several books on the future of churches, and is at present working on a book-length study of how churches were changed at the time of Henry VIII.

The Ecclesiological Society, which was formed in 1879, is for those who are interested in and enthusiastic about church history and church architecture.

Members’ interests range over all periods and places, from the earliest churches in Britain through to the most recent developments in ecclesiastical architecture, fittings and liturgy across the world.

The New Year Honours is a part of the British honours system, with New Year’s Day, January 1, being marked by naming new members of orders of chivalry and recipients of other official honours and are presented by the monarch.

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