The historic Church of St Ia, which overlooks the beach at the centre of St Ives, has received a commendation from the panel of judges for this year’s Nick Cahill Award.

The award scheme recognises outstanding work design and craftsmanship shown by projects involving religious buildings and sites representing all faiths. It celebrates both ambitious innovations and more modest restoration initiatives.

It is named in honour of the late Nick Cahill, an esteemed scholar, author and authority in the field of heritage and conservation, who held a number of influential strategic roles in historic environment policy at Cornwall Council and served as a valued member of the Truro’s Diocesan Advisory Committee, supporting the care and management of church buildings and churchyards across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The commendation was presented this month by Paul Holden of Truro’s Diocesan Advisory Committee, chair of the judging panel, and by Nick’s widow, Mary, with whom Nick had founded the historic building consultancy the Cahill Partnership twenty-three years ago.

The certificate of commendation was received by St Ia parishioner Carmel Henry, whose efforts, with the support of the Benefice’s vicar the Reverend Nick Widdows, had been key to the success of this initiative.

The church clock had stopped working in 2020, and, following extensive work to plan and secure funding for the project, restoration work took place last summer. The dial-works, hands and clock mechanism itself were repaired, new parts were made and an automatic regulator was installed.

Today, the clock once more offers passers-by the time of day from the top of this much-loved landmark at the heart of this picturesque north Cornish town.

“Without projects like this, churches would flounder,” Paul Holden said. “Here the Parochial Church Council has been proactive in seeking specialist advice, support and expert skills from Smith of Derby, clockmakers, to restore a 1930s clock. The results have made a huge difference to the town as just hearing bells and seeing a working clock brings a place to life.”

Paul added: “We would like to thank the organisations who supported the award scheme – the Cornish Buildings Group, Cornwall Archaeological Society, Cornwall Buildings Preservation Trust, Cornwall Council, Cornwall Heritage Trust, Institute of Historic Building Conservation, Old Cornwall Society, Truro Cathedral, the Diocese of Truro and the Twentieth Century Society.”