Northern Ireland news

Co Derry Catholic church wins prestigious architectural award

St Mary's Parish Church in Lavey won the 'restoration award'. Picture from CEF Construction Excellence Awards 2021/ YouTube

A Catholic Church in Co Derry has won a prestigious architectural award over Carrickfergus Castle and the Grand Opera House in Belfast.

St Mary's Parish Church in Lavey won the 'restoration' accolade at this year's CEF Construction Excellence Awards 2021.

The judges said those involved in the refurbishment had made "a huge impression due to the attention to detail of the meticulous refurbishment, extention and artistic enhancement of this historical church".

The awards, which were launched in 1999, are regarded as the "premier event in the Northern Ireland construction calendar". After a break in 2020 forced by the coronavirus pandemic, they returned this year with a virtual event taking place on Friday.

Hosted by BBC weather presenter Barra Best and former UTV sports correspondent Claire McCollum, the event showcased the best projects completed since 2019 with more than 20 categories of prizes.

St Mary's Church, which was closed in March 2018 and underwent almost two years of major restoration work carried out by contractor Woodvale Construction, took home the 'restoration award'.

The project included construction of new single storey sacristy, refurbishment of the existing church and repairs to stonework windows and roof structure.

New paving was laid around the church and new retaining walls and gates erected, while also maintaining the original design and character of the building.

Announcing the winner, Mr Best said:

"The church and community are greatly enhanced by the works which are of the highest quality."

In a post on the Lavey Parish Facebook page, it said: "Congratulations to Woodvale and everyone in our parish. Our parish church has been named winners in the restoration category this evening during the virtual awards ceremony".

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