AN 18-year-old A-level student has helped his church win a top prize in the Surefish Website of the Year awards, in association with the Church Times.
The top parish website, chosen by public internet voting from a shortlist of ten sites, is St Andrew’s, Higher Blackley, in Manchester diocese. The site, which features a speaking, moving, virtual cartoon vicar, was designed by Nick Salisbury, 18, who has just finished his A levels at Oldham Bluecoats School, and hopes to study computer science at the University of St Andrews.
“It was such a long shot when we entered the competition,” said Mr Salisbury, who has been designing websites since the age of eight. “I never thought we’d make it this far.”
The Revd Ian Fellows, Vicar of St Andrew’s, said: “The beauty of the website is that it has a warm welcome and is easy to navigate. We made a deliberate decision to stay away from anything too churchy and hoped that the language and style would be as accessible as the layout.”
The awards were presented by Pam Rhodes, the broadcaster, and presided over by Andrew Jackson, Surefish editor, at the Christian Aid headquarters in south London.
Among the judges were Paul Handley, editor of the Church Times, Sarah Doyle, its web editor, and David Walker, the cartoonist and Church Times blogger.
Other winners included the Church of England’s communications department, which won a prize for the best national denomination site; Connect Southampton, which won the best youth website award; and Langside Parish Church, Glasgow, presented with a special award by the judges in recognition of the use of its website after a serious fire at the church.
Among the prizes were website hosting from Christian Technology, a day’s consultancy from Ekklesia, a family ticket from Greenbelt, and a hamper of chocolate from Divine.
Surefish winners Parish website of the year
St Andrew’s, Higher Blackley
Most innovative site
Pray As You Go
Langside Parish Church, Glasgow
Best youth website
Best national church website
Church of England
Best regional website
Diocese of Manchester